YOUTH SUICIDE AND SELF-HARM
Youth suicide and self-harm is one of the top three priorities for injury prevention in BC
In 2018, death rates due to youth suicide in British Columbia were double the rates for males than for females.1
Self-harm includes deliberate self-injury, both with and without suicidal intent. Female youth in BC accounted for 2.9 times as many hospitalizations for self-harm than male youth from 2014/15 to 2016/17.3
Rates of youth suicide and self-harm are affected by gender, socioeconomic status, rural versus urban living, and ethnicity and culture.
More males die by suicide than females, but more females are hospitalized due to attempted suicide than males
BCIRPU supports the prevention of suicide and self-harm-related injuries at the policy level, practice, level, and community level. Youth suicide and self-harm prevention is one of the provincial priorities for injury prevention. Learn more about our work in this area.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, or is thinking about suicide or has attempted suicide or self-harm in the past:
- Kids Help Phone offers 24/7 support for youth (1-800-668-6868), and have some articles on how to talk to your kids and teens about COVID-19 on their website.
- 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- Youth in BC (up to 25 years old): Youth In BC; Kelty Mental Health
- Online Safety and Preventing Cyberbullying: Government of BC
In 2019, the BC Coroners Service Death Review Panel examined deaths among children and youth. The resulting report had the following recommendations for prevention:
- Understanding and addressing the conditions which cause mental distress, feelings of hopelessness or despair
- Reducing exposure to adverse experiences in early childhood
- Promoting connectedness to school and to significant adults, teaching coping and problem-solving skills
- Creating protective, supportive, accepting, and safe environments
- Reducing stigma and discrimination
- Restricting means of access (e.g. make it difficult for persons to access poisons, guns or pills, and have safety measures on bridges)
- Ensuring responsible media reporting
- Offering accessible support for vulnerable children and youth
- Ensuring that those children and youth experiencing a mental health crisis receive timely evidence-based treatment and care
Girls age 10 to 19 living in rural B.C. communities with poor access to local mental health services are at highest risk of intentionally poisoning themselves.
2. BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit. Counts and Rates (per 100,000 population) of Leading Causes of Injury Deaths, by Sex and Age group, British Columbia, 2018. Available from: https://www.injuryresearch.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/BCIRPU-Leading-Causes-of-Injury-Death-2018-FINAL.pdf
3. Data Source: Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), Ministry of Health, BCIRPU Injury Data Online Tool, 2014/15-2016/2017.