Background: Suicide is a significant public health concern among the pediatric population in the United States. This study aims to comprehensively analyze suicide attempts among adolescents using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Methods: The pediatric population of grades 9-12 students (13-17 years old) was included in the study population, and data were collected from multiple cycles of the YRBSS survey. Descriptive statistics and time-trend analyses were conducted to examine attempted suicide rates based on location, gender, race/ethnicity, school grade level, and sexual orientation.
Results: Significant variations in attempted suicide rates were observed among different demographic groups. In 2021, of the subset with suicide attempt, females reported a higher prevalence of attempted suicide (13.3%, n=211), while males exhibited a lower rate (6.6%, n=104). Of the total studied population in 2021, Palau had the highest attempted suicide rate (25.2%, n=3924), followed by the Northern Mariana Islands (17.6%, n=2740). Over 1991-2021, no significant location-based variations were observed. In 2021, American Indian/Alaska Native adolescents had the highest attempted suicide rate at 16% (n=2491), followed by Black adolescents (14.5%, n=2258). Ninth-grade students reported higher rates in 2021 (11.6%, n=1806). Adolescents reporting both opposite-sex (36.7%, n=5715) and same-sex-only sexual contacts or both (32.9%, n=5123) exhibited notably higher rates in 2021.
Conclusion: This study highlights alarming attempted suicide rates in the US pediatric population, emphasizing the need for tailored prevention efforts and mental health support. It offers essential guidance for policymakers, researchers, and mental health professionals in developing evidence-based strategies to promote youth well-being and combat the impact of suicide attempts.