Thirty percent of female high school students have seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Data Summary and Trends Report published on Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For male high school students, 14 percent of respondents said they had seriously considered suicide.
The survey results highlight the building crisis in youth mental health.
Overall, 29 percent of respondents said they felt they had poor mental health in the past month and 42 percent said they experienced “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” in the past year.
The CDC conducts the YRBS every two years, with this current report covering data from 2011 to 2021. The survey includes questions covering sexual behavior, substance use, experiencing violence, mental health and suicidality.
The percentage of teen girls who persistently felt sad or hopeless increased, up from 36 percent in 2011 to 57 percent in 2021. For teen boys, 21 percent in 2011 admitted to persistent sadness or hopelessness and this increased to 29 percent in 2021.
Overall, 22 percent of respondents said they had seriously considered attempting suicide. A large proportion of youth who identify as LGBTQ+, nearly half at 45 percent, said they had considered suicide and 37 percent said they had made a suicide plan.
The report highlights that alcohol and marijuana use is trending downward. Sexual activity is also trending downward for youth in terms of the percentage of individuals who have ever had sex, the number of partners and percent who say they are currently sexually active.