Each day, 12 teenagers commit suicide in the United States. Every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under 25 attempts suicide, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Various studies have found that female teens were twice as likely to attempt suicide as males. However, males were four times more likely to die from suicide than females, according to DoItNow.org.
The occurrence of suicide among girls between 10 and 14 has increased 200 percent since 1999, according to CDC.
In Connecticut, the suicide rate for female teens in 2015 was 8.7 percent, while for male teens it was 6.6 percent in 2015. But the suicide rate for youths has declined since 2007, according to the High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The reasons girls are more likely to commit suicide are complicated but they tend to be associated with social media, depression and mental health, Kimberly M. Nelson, a licensed social worker at the Wheeler Clinic in Plainville, said in a recent C-HIT interview.
“Most suicides occur in the youth’s home, after school hours,” Nelson said. “All sorts of stuff is going on in social media that contribute to isolation and that really allows for bullying and all those things nobody sees.”
Many teen girls face pressures that are very stressful and can affect their overall mental health, said Kim Holyst, the associate director at Wheeler Clinic.
“Teen girls experience peer pressure, body shaming, bullying, transitions at home and hormonal changes,” she said in an email. “Often teen girls can be more impulsive and reactive to various situations that they face without taking the time to process what going on or access supports what they may need,” said Holyst in an email.
According to a report at teenhelp.com, 34 percent of females used drug poisoning to attempt suicide while a majority of males used lethal weapons to commit suicide.
“In regards of males being more ‘successful’ in dying by suicide…they typically have access to more intense lethal means, more often than teen females,” Holyst said.
Male teens may not seek help as often, she said.
“Teen males are often not reaching out for help or intervention when experiencing thoughts to attempt suicide,” Holyst said.
The teen years can be difficult ones, Nelson said.
“What we know is puberty brings with it the beginning of psychological distress,” Nelson said, in the interview with C-HIT earlier this year. “We see, in line with puberty, psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety, social stressors. That’s something we need to think about.”
Fuka Reale is a student at the John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury.