New Report Finds More Than 13% of America's Teens Think Suicide

A just-released report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds more than 13 percent of young Americans between 14 and 17 years of age considered suicide in 2000--and only 36 percent of them had received mental health treatment or counseling.

SAMHSA administrator Charles Curie explains that depression is the main cause of suicide: “We need to help teens make the link between untreated depression and the risk for suicide, and help them identify serious depression or suicide risk in a friend. We must encourage teens to tell a responsible adult when a friend is at risk for suicide.”

More Than a Third Actually Tried

The report finds that more than a third of American teens, ages 12 to 17, who said they thought about suicide sometime in the past twelve months had actually attempted it. Girls were twice as likely as boys to say they thought about suicide. Race did not seem to make a difference, nor did whether the teens lived in the city, the suburbs or the country.

According to the reports findings, the highest rate was in the western part of the country, where 13.5 percent of children aged 12 to 17 reported having had thoughts of suicide.