LAS VEGAS (AP) — The suicide rate among Nevada youth has spiked, with more than two dozen children and teens taking their lives last year, state officials said.
The 27 deaths in 2018 were nearly double the number of youth suicides reported in 2017, and the increase comes amid a similar trend nationwide, according to the state Office of Suicide Prevention.
The agency is planning to form a team to investigate the increase in the deaths, aiming for it to help improve prevention efforts, office spokesman Richard Egan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an email Friday.
Fifteen children and teens died by suicide in 2017, according to the office. The state recorded six deaths in 2008.
Nevada’s rate of suicide among minors was 3.8 per 100,000 children and teens in 2018. It was 2.1 per 100,000 in 2017.
Across the country, about 2.4 per 100,000 minors died by suicide in 2017, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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“This issue is increasing and comprehensive suicide prevention is important,” office representative Misty Vaughn Allen told state lawmakers. “Any adult working with youth needs to be aware what to look for.”
The state’s dataset shows that the suicide rate among other age groups decreased or remained the same between 2018 and 2017.
There is rarely a single risk factor or behavior that can explain an increase in the deaths, officials said. The state agency plans to apply for federal funding to support the distribution of mental health resources to schools.
A state Senate committee heard Friday a bill that would require school districts to adopt policies related to suicide prevention and intervention. The measure introduced by Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman would also require teachers and students to be trained on the mental health resources available.
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Published 10:16 PM EDT Mar 16, 2019