Note: This article is not intended as a replacement for suicide counselling. If you or someone you know may be at risk of committing suicide, contact emergency services in your area immediately to get professional advice. Your local phone book will have the telephone numbers of distress lines and support agencies.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death - following motor vehicle accidents - among teenagers and young adults. On average, adolescents aged 15 to 19 years have an annual suicide rate of about 1 in 10,000 people. Among youths 12 to 16 year of age, up to 10% of boys and 20% of girls have considered suicide. Gay and lesbian adolescents are more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Suicide rates are 5 to 7 times higher among First Nations and Inuit teens.
The teen years are an anxious and unsettling period as boys and girls face the difficulties of transition into adulthood. It is a period in life that is often confusing, leaving teens feeling isolated from family or peers.
Unfortunately, some may at one point or another perceive suicide as a permanent answer to problems that are more often than not just temporary. The self doubts, confusion, and pressures to succeed or conform can come at a high price for troubled adolescents.
Girls generally attempt suicide more often than boys, but boys are about 4 times more likely to die from the suicide attempt. This is because the methods that boys choose - often using firearms or hanging - are more lethal than those chosen by girls, namely drug overdoses or cutting themselves.