Clipped From The Kerrville Times
By Robert Wallace, Ed.D. Copley News Service Dr. Wallace: I am aware that teen suicide is a major social problem and that the number of teen suicides has been rising, but I'm still not quite sure I understand how serious the problem is. I live in a small Central California town and I know of no teens here who nave even attempted suicide, let alone killed themselves. I will be in the 10th grade next fall and I plan to do a term paper on teen suicides. — Mary, Paso Robles, Calif. Mary: Within the past month a study (the largest ever done on teen suicides) by the University of Michigan at Flint revealed that teens may attempt suicide up to 10 times more often than previously thought. John Kinkel, professor of sociology at the university and author of the study, stated that nearly eight out of 100 youngsters tried at one time to kill themselves in the past year, according to results from" questions to over 2,500 Michigan adolescents age 12 to 18. Further survey findings show: • Young women who use marijuana heavily and drink frequently are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide. • Males who are frequent drinkers and smokers are no more likely to report suicide attempts than infrequent users. • Of 2,631 teens surveyed, 202 reported attempting suicide in the previous 12 months, a rate "of 7.6 percent. • Suicide attempts were twice as common among female&fand those age 14 to 16 were mol^viil- nerable. ^-v • Non-whites were more likely!, to try to kill themselves, as were .'S teens from rural areas. Researchers figure no more than 1 percent of the teens surveyed would have lied. ' . More than 7,000 adolescents will kill themselves this year. Various studies put the suicide rate among the young at about 12 per 100,000 people. _ Write to : Dir.''^Robert Wallace, TwEEN 12 and 20, Copley News Service, in care of this newspaper.