San Francisco has highest rate
of youth suicide in Bay Area
By Caitlin Cassady
September 8, 2007
According to data collected by the Lucile Packard Foundation,
San Francisco is the only Bay Area County that has a higher average
of children's suicides than the state average.
In California, 7.3 of every 100,000 youth, ages 15 to 24, commit
suicide, said Andy Krackov, senior director of public information
at the Lucile Packard Foundation. This number comes from analyzing
the amount of youth suicides from 2002 through 2004. The foundation
breaks this data down by county as well, and San Mateo came in
with the lowest rate of suicide, Krackov said.
San Mateo County had only 4.1 suicides per every 100,000 youth,
Krackov said. Next was Alameda County with 5.9, Santa Clara County
had a rate of 6.6, Contra Costa County reported a rate of 6.8
and San Francisco County came in the highest with a suicide rate
of 9.0 suicides per every 100,000 youth. Marin County has such
a small population, Krakov said, that no rate could be computed
from the data collected.
In 2003, 392 youth committed suicide in California, Krakov said.
The Bay Area reported 47 of these deaths. Santa Clara County had
the largest number with 21 reported suicides, but it also has
the largest population of any Bay Area county. Alameda County
had 11 reported suicides, San Francisco had 8, Contra Costa had
4, San Mateo had 3 and Marin County did not report any youth suicides.
Youth suicides are difficult to track, because the data depends
on family members reporting the incident as suicide. Some suicides
may be reported as an accident, which would change the data, Krakov
It is nearly impossible, Krakov said, to compare California data
to federal data, because federal data counts the number of youth
suicides as an age bracket from ages 10 to 24, and California
counts youth suicides from ages 5 to 24.
According to a statement released by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, the suicide rate for youth in the United
States 10 to 24 years of age increased by eight percent from 2003
to 2004. This is the largest increase in 15 years.
The data collected by the center indicates that an increase in
three particular groups account for the overall jump in numbers.
Girls 10 to 14 years old, girls 15 to 19 years old and boys 15
to 19 years old all had a significant increase in the number of
suicides. Prior to 2003, all three of these groups had seen a
decrease in the number of intentional deaths, according to the
Sept. 9 through 15 is National Suicide Prevention Week, according
to the American Association of Suicidology. Suicide is the third
leading cause of death for U.S. youth aged 15 to 24.
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