A study by the Samaritans found that 29 per cent of the 500 young people they interviewed knew someone who had died by suicide, of which 16 per cent had lost a friend or family member.
Rates of attempted suicide have always been higher among young women, but the most significant trend has been the increase among young men where the rate has risen by 63 per cent since 1990. A suicide attempt increases someone's chance of eventually dying by suicide by 100 times.
Factors associated with youth suicide include drugs and alcohol - with about one in three adolescent suicides is intoxicated at the time of death, and a further number are under the influence of drugs.
Cultural and ethnic origins also play a part with young women of south Asian origin living in the UK show very high risks of dying by suicide in comparison with the average risk for women in England and Wales. Physical and sexual abuse have been shown to distinguish suicidal adolescents from those who are depressed but not self-destructive.
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