Are teen suicide attempts on the rise?

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- A new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that not only are teen suicide attempts increasing, but so too is the number of teens thinking about ending their life.

So how did Arizona teens rank in this report and how could one phone call be the answer they need?

Nikki Kontz is used to fielding calls on a daily basis. She is the clinical director for Teen Lifeline. It’s a 24-hour hotline that uses peer counselors to talk to Arizona teens who are dealing with serious issues in their lives.

“The one thing that does stay consistent on the hotline is that a quarter of them have to do with suicide and depression,” Kontz said.

According to the CDC's 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the number of attempted suicides among teenagers rose from 6.3 percent in 2009 to 7.8 percent last year. When it came to actually making a suicide plan, Arizona ranked number one. And Arizona even topped another category, feeling sad or hopeless.

“It's alarming that we continue to be the state with the highest number by almost three percent higher than any of the other states across the nation,” Kontz said

Kontz said causes could vary from bullying to the economy.

“What we do know is with the decrease in the economy and struggles in the economy, we did see suicide increase in other age groups, “ Kontz continued. “So why wouldn't we see it in children as well.”

But it's a survey like this that opens doors for organizations like Kontz’s to help teens find resources.

“The biggest advice I can give is don't give up, reach out for help,” Kontz said. “There are really people out there that care.”
The survey looked at ninth through twelfth graders from across the country. You can find the report at

You can also visit Teen Lifeline at