Be the Change, Stop Bullying & Cyberbullying


Current research suggests that suicide ideation and attempts among adolescents have nearly doubled since 2008 (Plemmons et al., 2018).

As of 2014, suicide rates in the United States were 24% higher than in 1999, an increase for both males and females ages 75 and younger (Curtin, Warner, & Hedegaard, 2016).

From 1993 to 2012, school-aged suicide trends have stayed relatively constant (from 1.18 to 1.09 per 1 million), however, trends on a racial level have not.  The suicide rates among black youth have significantly increased (from 1.36 to 2.54 per 1 million) and among white youth have decreased (from 1.14 to 0.77 per 1 million) (Bridge, Asti, Horowitz, Greenhouse, Fontanella, Sheftall, Kelleher, & Camp, 2015).

Nearly 10% of freshman students reported that they “frequently felt depressed” (Eagan et al., 2014).

Between 6% and 8% of college students report having serious suicidal thoughts, but between 1% and 2% of students will actually attempt suicide each year (American College Health Association, 2013).

As of 2013, there were 41,149 (112.7/day) national suicides, accounting for 1.6% of deaths (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

32,055 men (87.8/day) committed suicide versus 9,094 females (24.9/day) in 2013 (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

 Average of 1 person every 12.8 minutes killed themselves and an average of 1 younger person every 1 hour and 48 minutes killed themselves in 2014 (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

Suicide is the 2nd ranking cause of death for individuals 15-24 years of age – homicides ranked 3rd (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

 It is estimated that each committed suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

1 in 65,000 children age, 10 to 14, commit suicide each year (SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, 2014).

Individuals who have experienced an adverse childhood experience, also known as ACEs, were more likely to have attempted suicide (Choi, Dinitto, Marti, & Segal, 2017). *An ACE might be considered one of the following: psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or physical neglect, witnessing violence, parents’ separation or divorce, etc.

Men who had experienced 4 or more ACEs and women who had experienced 2 or more ACEs had significantly increased risk of attempting suicide at least once (Choi, Dinitto, Marti, & Segal, 2017).

A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States (U.S.) found that (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014):

  • 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide 
  • 13% reported creating a plan 
  • 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey


An estimated 804, 000 suicide deaths occurred worldwide in 2012, representing an annual global age-standardized suicide rate of 11.4 per 100 000 population (World Health Organization [WHO], 2014).

Globally, suicides account for 50% of all violent deaths in men and 71% in women (WHO, 2014).

With regard to age, suicide rates are highest in persons aged 70 years or over for both men and women in almost all regions of the world (WHO, 2014).

In some countries, suicide rates are highest among the young, and globally suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15−29-year-olds (WHO, 2014).

Significantly, a prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population (WHO, 2014).

In terms of policy, 28 countries today are known to have national suicide prevention strategies (WHO, 2014).

There are indications that for each adult who died of suicide there may have been more than 20 others attempting suicide (WHO, 2014).

Suicide rates also vary within countries, with higher rates among those who are minorities or experience discrimination (WHO, 2014).

In 2012 suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths worldwide, making it the 15th leading cause of death (WHO, 2014).

Despite the increase in the global population between 2000 and 2012, the absolute number of suicides has decreased by about 9%, from 883 000 to 804 000 (WHO, 2014).

Experiences of natural disaster, war and civil conflict can increase the risk of suicide because of the destructive impacts they have on social well-being, health, housing, employment and financial security (WHO, 2014).

The stresses of acculturation and dislocation represent a significant suicide risk that has an impact on a number of vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples, asylum-seekers, refugees, persons in detention centers, internally displaced people, and newly arrived migrants (WHO, 2014).

In high-income countries, mental disorders are present in up to 90% of people who die by suicide, and among the 10% without clear diagnoses, psychiatric symptoms resemble those of people who die by suicide (WHO, 2014).

In 2011, youth 15 to 24 years made up 16.3% of deaths by suicide (4,822/year and 13.2/day) (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014).

In 2011, a young person (15-24) committed suicide every 1 hour and 49 minutes (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014).

In 2011, suicide was the 2nd cause of death for young people (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014).

It is estimated that each committed suicide intimately affects at least other people (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014).

As of 2011 in the state of Missouri, there were 933 confirmed suicides with a rate of suicide of 15.5 (McIntosh & Drapeau, 2014).

Each year suicide claims approximately 30,000 lives in America which makes it responsible for more than 1% of all deaths in the U.S. (National Alliance on Mental Illness [NAMI], 2013)

Suicide is the most common psychiatric emergency with almost 1 million Americans receiving treatment for suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and/or attempts on a yearly basis (NAMI, 2013).

The single biggest risk factor for suicide is a prior history of suicidal behaviors or attempts (NAMI, 2013).

People who feel socially-isolated (e.g. divorced, widowed) are at increased risk of suicide (NAMI, 2013).

Young people who were between the ages of 16 and 24 when they experience a friend's suicide "became more isolatedreduced their circle of close friends, and generally became more circumspect in relationships." They also engaged in "risky coping behaviors" including alcohol and drug use and high-risk sexual activity (Bartik, Maple, Edwards, & Kiernan, 2013).

The percentage of districts that provide funding for professional development to those who teach health education on suicide prevention increased from 41.5% in 2000 to 62.6% in 2012 (CDC, 2012).

35.7% of elementary schools are required by the school district to teach about suicide prevention. 65.1% of middle schools, and 75.0% of high schools (CDC, 2012).

78.4% of districts require schools have a plan for actions to be taken when a student at risk for suicide was identified (CDC, 2012).

In 2012, 76.3% of districts adopted a policy stating student assistance programs will be offered to all student, versus the 51.2% in 2000 (CDC, 2012).

Among the 78.4% of districts that have a plan for action after a student was identified as at risk for suicide (CDC, 2012):

  • 97.1% required the student’s family be informed.
  • 85.4% required the student be referred to a mental health provider.
  • 59.4% required a visit with a mental health provider be documented.

There were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the United States -- an average of 105 each day (CDC, 2012).

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2010; however suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among persons from 10 to 24 years of age (CDC, 2012).

Among 15 to 24 year olds, suicide accounts for 20% of annual deaths (CDC, 2012).

From 2008-2009, 8.3 million individuals younger than 18 years of age reported having suicidal thought and 1 million reported making a suicide attempt (CDC, 2012).

Of a 2011, national sample of students in high school (9th-12th grade), 15.8% reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide, 12.8% reported creating a plan, and 7.8% had attempted suicide 1 or more times (CDC, 2012).

There is 1 completed suicide for every 15 attempted suicides, and specifically among young adults ages 15 to 24, there are approximately 100-200 attempts of every 1 completed suicide (CDC, 2012).

Suicide among males is 4 times higher than among females; however females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts (CDC, 2012).

For American Indians/Alaska Natives from 15 to 34 years of age, suicide is reported to be the 2nd leading cause of death (CDC, 2012).

Only 12% of school psychologists reported completing coursework in suicide postvention strategies (Stein-Erichsen, 2011).

Only 35% of school psychologists feel competent to do a suicide risk assessment (Stein-Erichsen, 2011).




Suicide in Missouri

In 2013, Missouri had 960 deaths by suicide, raising the rate of suicide to 15.9/100,000, more than the national average of 13 suicides/100,000 people (Drapeau & McIntosh, 2015).

For over more than the last decade, the suicide rate in Missouri has been higher than the national average. In 2010, Missouri’s suicide rate was the 22nd highest in the nation. The average rate was 14.29 per 100,000 individuals (Missouri Institute of Mental Health, 2013).

In 2011, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death in Missouri among youth/young adults ages 15-24 (Missouri Institute of Mental Health, 2013).

Among Missouri youth, those ages 20-24 accounted for the highest suicide rate, with males accounting for 84% of these suicides (Missouri Institute of Mental Health, 2013).

As of 2012, 13.6% of college students reported experiencing suicidal thoughts, compared to 13.1% of college students in 2010 (University of Missouri - Columbia, 2012).

As of 2012, 1.0% of college students reported attempting suicide, compared to 0.9% of college students in 2010 (University of Missouri - Columbia, 2012).



Suicide & Bullying

Peer victimization in children and adolescents is associated with higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (JAMA Pediatrics, 2014).

Cyberbullying was strongly related suicidal ideation in comparison with traditional bullying (JAMA Pediatrics, 2014).

22% of frequent perpetrators only, 29% of frequent victims only, and 38% of frequent bully-victims reported suicidal thinking or a suicide attempt during the past year. Several environmental risk factors and risk behaviors were associated with suicidal thinking and behavior among youth involved in bullying (Borowsky, Taliaferro, & McMorris, 2013).

There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationship is often mediated by other factors, including depression and delinquency (Hertz, Donato, & Wright, 2013).

Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage & Holt, 2013).

Students who are both bullied and engage in bullying behavior are the highest risk group for adverse outcomes (Espelage & Holt, 2013).

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