Idaho

Nearly 1/4 of Idaho teenagers have ‘seriously considered’ suicide, report says

Talon Owens talks teen suicide prevention

Talon Owens talks about positive feedback he received from Borah students after a Statesman story revealed his brush with suicide.
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Talon Owens talks about positive feedback he received from Borah students after a Statesman story revealed his brush with suicide.

A 2017 survey of Idaho teenagers suggests high school students across the state are thinking about suicide more than they have in years, according to the State Department of Education.

According to the survey, 22 percent of students reported that they had “seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months” — the highest such percentage in a decade, the department said in a news release. It’s a nearly 3 percent increase from 2015, and 8 percent from 2009, the lowest point for that statistic in the past decade.

The Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey is given annually.

The number of students reporting symptoms of depression (chronic feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest in usual activities) rose this year as well, from 31.6 percent in 2015 to 35 percent in 2017. That increase continues a trend that has been rising almost steadily since 2007.

One in four high school students reported being bullied at school, according to the results, and 20 percent of students reported experiencing bullying online. An unrelated survey earlier this year found Idaho to be the No. 1 state for cyberbullying, reinforcing what the Department of Education called “findings of concern.”

Still, the Department of Education said, the survey included “some promising findings.” The percentage of teens who report smoking tobacco has decreased by 20 percent in the last decade, and the percentage of students who said they rode in a car with a drunken driver also dropped significantly.

Resources

Connect with Idaho Anti-Bullying, a group of parents and students, on its Facebook page.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24/7. Text or call: 208-398-4357.

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