More Phila youths attempt suicide
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
A conference at Temple University today is addressing the issue of suicide attempts among adolescents. The rate is higher in Philadelphia than the national average.
According to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, almost 7 percent of adolescents report that they have attempted suicide in the past year.
For Philadelphia, the rate is more than 12 percent. Researchers can't explain the city's increased rate.
Jonathan Singer is a professor of Social Work at Temple University – he says today's conference will bring together professionals from many different disciplines to develop strategies in preventing suicide:
Singer: Suicidal youth are in places where professionals can intervene — such as schools, such as churches, such as youth groups, such as community organizations. One of the things suicide prevention has to do in the future is to target these non-traditional meaning non-mental health service agencies as venues for addressing at-risk youth and for youth who are specifically at risk for suicide
He says being aware of risk groups and warning signs is an important first step.
Brian Daly is a professor of Public Health at Temple – he says communities should focus on protective factors in preventing suicide among teens:
Daly: Improving social support, family cohesiveness, getting them the critical medical care that they need with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a social worker, as well as addressing risk factors which most prominently in terms of suicide are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use among these adolescents
Daly says suicide attempts are the biggest predictor of completed suicide. Participants at the conference will also screen a DVD produced by North Philadelphia teens who attempted to commit suicide.
The rate of suicide attempts has been rising in Philadelphia for the past decade – and increases are especially pronounced among African American and Hispanic males.