Adolescence is a time of change, when young people may experience stress from many sources, including relationships with friends and family members and problems at school. Many high school students report thinking about suicide,1 and in 2014, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people ages 13 to 19 years.2

Risk and Protective Factors 

Suicide prevention efforts seek to reduce the suicide risk factors for teens and strengthen the factors that help protect them from suicide. Here are a few examples:

Risk factors

  • Depression and other mental health problems
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Feelings of social isolation
  • Difficult life situations (abuse, bullying, poverty)

Protective factors

  • Life skills (problem-solving, coping)
  • Social support from family, friends, and others
  • Positive school experiences


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Trends in the prevalence of suicide-related behavior, national YRBS: 1991–2014. Retrieved from…
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Leading causes of death reports, national and regional, 1999–2014. Retrieved from 

Learn More

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