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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the results of the 2019 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System (YRBSS).  The YRBSS is a survey, conducted by the CDC, that includes national, state, and local school-based representative samples of 9th through 12th grade students.

The purpose is to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth in the United States. The surveys are conducted every two years to determine the prevalence of these health risk behaviors. Behaviors that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and those that indicate possible depression and/or suicidal ideation are included. 

Currently, suicide is the third leading cause of death for high school aged youth in Tennessee.  The four questions below are included in the YRBSS and relate to suicidal thinking.  The results from our Tennessee high school students are also listed. 

1. Have you experienced the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or greater during the past twelve months (possible beginning of clinical depression)?  

37.5 percent answered YES or over 1 out of every 3 young people

2. Have you seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months?  

19.2 percent answered YES or almost 1 out of every 5 young people

3. Have you made a plan to attempt suicide in the past twelve months?

15.4 percent answered YES or over 1 out of every 7 young people

4. Have you attempted suicide in the past twelve months?

10.6 percent answered YES or almost 1 out of every 9 young people

The release of these results comes just before the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Month, September.  National Suicide Prevention Week is September 6 – 12, with World Suicide Prevention Day on the 10th.  During this day, week, and month, organizations and individuals across the state will be conducting activities to draw attention to the terrible tragedy of youth suicide. 

If you are looking for more information, The Jason Foundation has compiled an Informational Packet for Suicide Prevention Month that may be of use to you.  The Packet will provide you with additional information on the tragedy of youth suicide and offer suggestions on how you can become involved in prevention efforts. 

The Jason Foundation is a nationally recognized leader in suicide awareness and prevention.  They provide all their programs, services, and materials to the public at no cost. 

To download the packet, head to and click on Suicide Prevention Month under the How to Get Involved tab.  Suicide is preventable.  Together, we can make a difference. 

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