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Survey: Thinking less about suicide, attempts increase

fili@samoanews.com

A Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), conducted last spring, using students from the territory’s six public high schools, reveals that although there was a decrease in the number of teenagers considering or planning suicide, actual suicide attempts increased.

Similarly, while fewer students carried weapons such as a gun, knife or club the number who carried such weapons on school property increased.

The American Samoa Youth Risk Behavior Survey, was a project coordinated between the local Education Department and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It surveyed some 3,190 high school students comprised of 47.5% female and 52.5% male. A similar study was conducted four years earlier in 2007.

Under the subtitle “Unintended Injuries and Violence," the YRB Survey indicated a slight decrease (4%) in the number of students who “seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months” since the 2007 study as did the number of students (2.8%) who actually planned how they would attempt their suicide.

However, the number of students who “actually attempted suicide one or more times during the past 12 months" increased by .9% and suicide attempts needing treatment by a doctor or nurse increased by 1.7%.

Students who “made a suicide attempt that resulted in an injury, poisoning or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse” increased by 1.7%.

- • 21.7%“seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months” in 2011 survey; 25.7%in 2007 survey.

- • 24%planned how they would attempt suicide during the past 12 months; 26.8%in 2007 survey.

+ • 20.5%“actually attempted suicide one or more times during the past 12 months"; 19.6%in 2007 survey.

+ • 7.8%“made a suicide attempt that resulted in an injury, poisoning or overdose that had to be treated by a doctor or nurse”; 6.1%in 2007 survey.

 

The survey also found that although fewer students carried weapons in 2011, more students said they carried weapons on school property and felt unsafe at school. No data was available from the 2007 survey regarding bullying on campus but the 2011 survey revealed that 22.4% of the students claimed to have been bullied on school property during the past 12 months.

- • 19.8%carried a weapon such as gun, knife or club in 2011; 22.2%in 2007 survey.

- •  9.1%carried a gun on one or more of the past 30 days in 2011; 9.7%in 2007 survey.

+ •  8.8%carried a weapon such as a gun, knife or club on school property in 2011; 8.4%in 2007 survey.

+ • 11.1%claimed to “had been threatened or injured with a weapon such as gun, knife, club on school property” in 2011; 10.3%in 2007 survey.

+ • 22.1%say they “did not go to school on one or more of the past 30 days because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to or from school” in 2011; 21.2%in 2007 survey.

Overall, fighting incidents decreased by over 7% and rape and depression decreased slightly.

- • 47.3%say they were “involved in a physical fight one or more times during the past 12 months” in 2011; 54.4%in 2007 survey.

- •   9.2%got “involved in a physical fight one or more times in which they were injured and had to be treated by a nurse or doctor” in 2011; 11.1%in 2007 survey.

- • 30.3%were involved in a physical fight on school property one or more times in the past 12 months in 2011; 33.1%in 2007 survey.

- • 16.5%“ever hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend” in 2011; 16.7%in 2007 survey.

- • 21.5%were “physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to” in 2011; 22.8%in 2007 survey.

- • 40.1%“felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped dong some usual activities” in 2011; 41.9%in 2007 survey.

Data was also gathered regarding road behavior among teens.

• 78.6% never or rarely wore a bicycle helmet versus 78.8% in 2007 when riding a bike

• 19.4% never or rarely wore a seatbelt when riding a car driven by someone else compared to 30.9% in 2007

• 30.1% rode one or more times in a car or vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol compared to 37.6% in 2007

• 5.8% drove a car or other vehicle one or more times when they had been drinking alcohol compared 7.8% in 2007



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