The truth behind the suicide statistic for older teen girls

June 12, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

National Public Radio

In the World Health Organization’s most recent review of international adolescent health data, suicide has become the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19, overtaking maternal mortality. This is mostly due to the welcome news that fewer women and girls are dying from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes. The suicide rate for these older teenaged girls has actually dropped worldwide, from 15.85 per 100,000 in 2000 to 11.73 per 100,000 in 2012. However in in Southeast Asia, 15- to 19-year-old girls die by suicide at more than twice the global rate. Researchers have suggested that poverty, displacement, and gender-related expectations are suicide risk factors for these young women. Vikram Patel, professor of international mental health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, commended comprehensive efforts in China to decrease youth suicide, and noted that there are proven tools available. “Irrespective of the variations between nations, there are universal strategies which will work in all societies, such as means restriction and improving access to mental health care for young people,” he said.

Spark Extra! Read the recent World Health Organization recent report Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative.