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Suicide occurs when a person chooses to end his or her life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among all Americans, the 2nd leading cause of death among children and adolescents ages 10-24, and the 3rd leading cause of death among 12 year olds. In 2011, 5,014 children and adolescents died by suicide. Research shows that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are the greatest predictors of suicide. These include passive thoughts of wanting to be dead, recurrent thoughts about ending one’s life, plans and behaviors that “rehearse” killing oneself (like putting a rope around one’s neck or a knife to one’s wrist), and actually attempting suicide. There are approximately 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide. Approximately 2 million children and adolescents attempt suicide every year. Research shows that 8.5% of high school students attempted suicide and 3% made an attempt that required medical treatment. Younger children experience suicidality too; research shows that 12% of children between the ages 6 and 12 have suicidal thoughts.
The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”