Cronkite News will spend the next year covering youth suicide. Suicide has become the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24 in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in Arizona, the statistics are even more grim: America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation found that Arizona’s suicide rate among 15 to 24 year olds is higher than the national average. Cronkite News will examine the rise of suicides, analyze the underlying societal, cultural, technological and medical causes behind the trend, explore how people are combating the problem and highlight initiatives that work elsewhere. This special project and in-depth coverage is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.
Native Americans have the highest suicide rates in the nation and young Native Americans face an even greater risk. Here in the Southwest, efforts are under way to overcome the stigma of talking about mental health issues, and to help native youth build resiliency and connect with their culture. Read more
Students and advocates for preventing teen suicide gathered at the Arizona Capitol to mark Teen Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September. “We wanted students to create encouraging messages, messages of hope,” said Nikki Kontz, the clinical director at Teen Lifeline in Phoenix. Read more
Education and government officials called a $20 million grant for suicide prevention programs in Arizona schools an important first step to deal with a growing problem, even as they said much more needs to be done. The funds will be used to hire additional counselors, social workers or school resource officers. Read more
The Phoenix metro area had the sixth-highest rate of firearm suicides among the nation's urban areas, according to a new report by House Democrats tying the availability of guns to the prevalence of gun suicides. The report said there has been a steady increase in such deaths since 2000. Read more