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Children's Health Council

CDC Releases Final Report on Youth Suicide in Santa Clara County

SCC public health white

March 6, 2017, News

In 2016-17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted an investigation of youth suicide in Santa Clara County. The purpose of the investigation, called an Epi-Aid, was to utilize existing data to develop specific prevention and control recommendations on youth suicide prevention that can be used at the school, city, and county levels.

The Centers for Disease Control have released their final report to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

The data provided in this report shed some light on youth suicides in our county. Some key findings from the report:

  • Youth suicide has increased in Santa Clara County since 2003, mirroring trends in California and the United States as a whole. Youth deaths by suicides are more common among males and 20 to 24 year olds.
  • The suicide rate for 10 to 24 year olds in Santa Clara County during 2003-2014 was 5.4 per 100,000. This is similar to the suicide rate of California (5.3 per 100,000). The suicide rate for youth nationwide was higher than the county and state rate.
  • A total of 229 suicide deaths occurred in 10 to 24 year olds residing in Santa Clara County from 2003-2015
    • Two-third of these were ages 20 to 24 (66%)
    • Three quarter were males (75%)
    • Nearly 2 in 5 were White, non-Hispanic (39%) followed by 27% Asian/Pacific Islander, 27% Hispanic and 4% African American.
  • Almost all youth deaths by suicide had precipitating factors, such as a recent crisis or a current mental health problem, highlighting the importance of and potential for intervention.
  • In student surveys from 2005 – 2014, the percentage of high school students who reported that they had thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months ranged from 15% to 19% in Santa Clara County.
  • From 2009 – 2015, Bay Area media reporting departed from the accepted safe suicide reporting guidelines. Common problems with the reporting included describing the method of suicide and location of the injury or death in the story.

The final report provided to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department is available here (www.sccphd.org/epi-aid) along with Frequently Asked Questions and an overview of the Epi-Aid.

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