Learn the Facts About Youth Suicide

Youth suicide has become a serious public health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 10 to 14. In Ohio, a youth dies by suicide every 33 hours (Ohio Youth Suicide Prevention Collaborative).

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to address the widespread stigma associated with mental health and suicide. False beliefs and misinformation perpetuate stigma in our society. Stigma creates a culture of secrecy, shame, denial and disgrace. One of the best ways to prevent suicide is to talk about it. Stigma prevents people from engaging in life-saving conversations.

Help stop stigma by educating yourself and correcting these common myths about suicide.

MYTH: Only certain “types” of people become suicidal. Youth who attempt suicide have depression.

FACT: Suicide affects all populations. People of any race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or community may be at risk for suicide. While depression is a contributing factor in most suicides, a youth does not necessarily need to have depression to attempt or die by suicide. There is no single cause for suicide.

MYTH: Talking about suicide or asking if a youth feels suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.

FACT: Talking about suicide provides a safe space for open communication and it normalizes sharing feelings. Age-appropriate conversations create an opportunity for youth to share their feelings or concerning thoughts. It is important to manage conversations carefully and to be aware of available resources. Talking about suicide can save a youth’s life.

MYTH: Young people who talk about suicide are just attention-seeking and they never attempt or die by suicide.

FACT: Talking about suicide can be a plea for help. It may serve as a warning sign and progress toward a suicide attempt. Youths who talk about suicide or attempt suicide must be taken seriously. The attention they get may save their life.

MYTH: Suicide attempts or deaths happen suddenly, without warning.

FACT: Warning signs, verbally or behaviorally, precede most suicides. Youth often tell school peers about their thoughts and plans. Adolescents are more likely to ask for help through non-verbal communication. The survivors of suicide often feel that the intention was hidden from them. Sadly, it is more likely that loved ones did not recognize the warning signs.

MYTH: If a youth attempts suicide and survives, they will never make a further attempt.

FACT: A suicide attempt is regarded as an indicator of further attempts. It is likely that the level of danger will increase with each further attempt.

MYTH: Once a person is intent on suicide, there is no way of stopping them.

FACT: People can be helped. Early identification and intervention make it possible to help someone before they attempt suicide.

MYTH: Improvement in mental health after a crisis means that the risk of suicide is over.

FACT: Improvement in mood following suicidal behavior may signal that the person has decided to end their life. Suicide risk should be routinely monitored on an ongoing basis.

If you or someone you know is considering or attempting suicide, please seek immediate help. Dial 988 to be connected to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Camber Children’s Mental Health

LeBonheur Children’s Hospital

National Alliance on Mental Health

National Library of Medicine

Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health Office of Suicide Prevention

Ohio Youth Suicide Prevention Collaborative