Suicide plans and attempts rising among middle and high school students in Marathon Co.

Students in cafeteria (WSAW photo)
Students in cafeteria (WSAW photo)(WSAW)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 5:26 PM CDT
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Mental health concerns are going up among students in Marathon County high schools. Results from the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey, that's done every two years, came out Friday.

Students in 12 high schools were surveyed this past spring. They were specifically asked about their well-being over the previous 12 months and about any experiences harming themselves and considering or attempting suicide.

This year, 26% of students experienced depression that impacted their usual activities. In 2017, it was 23.6%.

Non-suicidal self-harm also went up to 16% this year, from 14.7% in 2017.

The survey shows in recent years, youth suicides and suicidal ideation are going up too. Of the high school students surveyed, 15% considered suicide, up from 13% in 2017.

Roughly 4% more of the students surveyed this year have made a suicide plan from the last time the survey was conducted.

When it comes to actual suicide attempts, 7%of students answered that they had, compared to 4% two years ago.

Even more alarming, was when we looked at the data for middle schoolers. 2017 was the first year the survey included middle schools, and this year, out of the 3,680 middle school students surveyed, 9%, or 331 had made a suicide plan, and 4%, or 147 middle schoolers, attempted to take his or her own life. That number alone went up from 128 in 2017.

One mental well-being question asked this year, but not in past surveys, was about anxiety and if students had experienced significant problems with anxiety over the past 12 months. Nearly half of both middle and high school students said they had, 45% and 43% respectively.

If you or anyone you know are in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, know that help is available 24/7 through the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You'll be connected to someone from a local crisis center. The number to call is 1-800-273-talk (8255).

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