What’s Killing Teens in Franklin County Missouri?

The Missouri KIDS COUNT team, like many organizations and families in Missouri and around the country, is deeply concerned about the impact of teen suicide. A novel by Jay Asher, “13 Reasons Why,” about a teenage girl who commits suicide, and its adaptation into a Netflix series, illustrates the challenges faced by today’s teens. The series has sparked conversations about the critical need for targeted mental health resources for our youth.

Many, both in support of and critical of “13 Reasons Why,” have weighed in on the series’ impact. Though the effects of fictionalized suicide are not completely understood, new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association suggests that those most at risk are students who are already experiencing suicidal thoughts. Ron Avi Astor, Ph.D., one of the research’s authors, says there are several key takeaways including:

  • Teen suicide is a major problem.
  • Suicide can be contagious.
  • Bullying can play a big role in self harm.
  • Schools can implement tactics to lower risks.

Read more here.

Last year, Missouri KIDS COUNT prepared an infographic depicting suicide trends from 1999 to 2014 using data from the CDC. We have updated this infographic to include data from 2015—the latest year available. Based on the CDC data, since 2011 suicide has been the 2nd leading cause of teen death in the country. Missouri is now following a similar trend as suicide became the 2nd leading cause of teen death in 2015.


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