POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 67 In 2009, in Canada, there were 145 male suicides (and a 12.6 per 100,000 suicide rate) in the 15-19 age range. For females, there were a total of 57 deaths (and a corresponding suicide rate of 5.2 per 100,000). These numbers rise sharply (especially for males) when they reach their twenties and beyond. Males reach a peak rate of 27 per 100,000 in the 40-44 age range with a recorded number of 337 deaths in 2009. In Canada, suicide accounts for 24 percent of all deaths among 15-24 year olds. Boys die by suicide two to three times more often than girls. Teens are admitted to hospital for suicide attempts more than any other age group; some accounts suggest as many as one quarter of all admissions are for teens Historical Trends According to a longitudinal study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal which looks at suicides by boys and girls over a thirty-year period (1980-2008), there has been a modest decline in suicides for boys aged 10-19 and a slight rise for girls in the same age range. Girls have always attempted suicide more frequently than boys. But there is reason to believe that girls are increasingly using more lethal means, like hanging, when attempting suicide, which could account for the increase in suicidal deaths. However, the number of suicides for both boys and girls in Canada has been relatively consistent in the last ten years and suicide remains the second leading cause of death for young people in Canada. Risk Factors • Mental illness • Substance abuse • Physical or sexual abuse • Ambivalence of sexual orientation • Feelings of hopelessness • Access to lethal means of suicide • Homelessness • Non-lethal self-injury or previous suicide attempts • Exposure to a friend or family member’s suicidal behaviour ► Thoughts of suicide can occur in children as early as age 8 or 9. T E E N S U I C I D E