CDC survey shows nearly half of all high schoolers experience feelings of hopelessness

Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released the results of the 2019 Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System. The YRBSS is a survey, conducted by the CDC, that includes national, state and local school-based representative samples of ninth through 12th grade students.

The survey’s purpose is to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability and social problems among youth in the United States. The surveys are conducted every two years to determine the prevalence of these health risk behaviors. Behaviors that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and those that indicate possible depression and/or suicidal ideation are included.

Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death for middle and high school age youth in California. The four questions below are included in the YRBSS and relate to suicidal thinking.  The results from the middle and high school students are also listed.

Have you experienced the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or greater during the past 12 months, which is the possible beginning of clinical depression? The survey found that 45.3% answered “yes,” or over one out of every three young people.

Have you seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months? The survey found that 26.6% answered “yes,” or over one out of every four young people.

Have you made a plan to attempt suicide in the past 12 months? The survey found that 23.7% answered “yes” or almost one out of every four young people.

Have you attempted suicide in the past 12 months? The survey found that 9.2% answered “yes” or over one out of every 11 young people.

The release of these results comes just before the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Month in September. National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 6-12, with World Suicide Prevention Day Sept. 10. During this day, week and month, organizations and individuals across the state will be conducting activities to draw attention to the tragedy of youth suicide.

For more information, The Jason Foundation has compiled an informational packet for Suicide Prevention Month that may be of use. The packet will provide additional information on the tragedy of youth suicide and offer suggestions on how to become involved in prevention efforts. The Jason Foundation is a nationally recognized leader in suicide awareness and prevention. They provide all their programs, services and materials to the public at no cost.

To download the packet, visit and click on “Suicide Prevention Month” under the “How to Get Involved” tab.

Suicide is preventable. Together, we can make a difference.

Submitted by the Jason Foundation.