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Juveniles as Victims
Violent Crime Victimization
Q: What are the trends in suicide-related behaviors among high school students?
A: The percent of high school youth who considered suicide or made a plan to commit suicide experienced periods of significant decline and growth between 1991 and 2019.
Notes: The reference period for each question was the 12 months prior to the survey.
YRBSS question wording:
Did you seriously consider attempting suicide?
Did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?
How many times did you actually attempt suicide?
Did any attempt result in an injury, poisoning, or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse?

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  • The percent of high school students who seriously considered attempting suicide fell significantly between 1991 and 2009 (from 29% to 13.8%). Despite the recent increase, the percent of high school students who considered suicide in 2019 was well below the 1991 level.
  • The percent of high school students who made a plan to commit suicide peaked in 1993 at 19%, and then generally declined through 2009. By 2019, 15.7% of high school students reported making a plan to commit suicide.
  • The percent of high school students who attempted suicide fluctuated between 6% and 9% between 1991 and 2019, and the percent of high school students who attempted suicide that resulted in injury stayed within a limited range (1.7% to 2.9%) during this period.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/victims/qa02711.asp?qaDate=2019. Released on September 21, 2020.

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1991-2019 High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data. Available at https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline/. Accessed August 2020.

The national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) monitors priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. The national YRBS is conducted every two years and provides data representative of 9th through 12th grade students in public and private schools throughout the United States.


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