YOUTH SUICIDE AND SELF-HARM

Youth suicide and self-harm is one of the top three priorities for injury prevention in BC.

In 2020, 56 British Columbians between the ages of 15 and 24 died by suicide.1

OVERVIEW

Self-harm includes deliberate self-injury, with or without suicidal intent.

Tragically, in 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of injury death for British Columbians aged 15-24 years and older, followed by other injuries such as motor vehicle collisions.1

In 2020, death rates for youth suicide in British Columbia were almost double in males in comparison with females.1

Regarding the hospitalizations, between 2018 and 2022, there were 3.6 times more hospitalizations for self-harm among female youth in British Columbia compared to male youth.2

For every child and youth who dies of suicide in BC, there are more than 3,000 who identify having suicide ideation.3

More males die by suicide than females, but more females are hospitalized due to attempted suicide than males.

RESEARCH

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.

PREVENTION

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 BCKelty 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 (PDF) had the following recommendations for prevention:3

  • 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

News

1. Data Source: BC Vital Statistics, Ministry of Health. Data accessed from Chronic Disease and Injury Data Mart, BCCDC (as of July 27th, 2023).[Based on 2020 statistics]

2.Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), Ministry of Health.

3. BC Coroners Service, Youth Suicide Death Review Panel. (2019) Supporting youth and health professionals: a report on youth suicides. Available from: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/birth-adoption-death-marriage-and-divorce/deaths/coroners-service/child-death-review-unit/reports-publications/youth_suicide_drp_report_2018.pdf.