Global trends in teenage suicide: 2003-2014

QJM. 2015 Oct;108(10):765-80. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcv026. Epub 2015 Jan 31.


The object of this article is to review the past decade of research on teenage suicide, with a particular emphasis on epidemiologic trends by age, gender and indigenous ethnicity. As such, a review of research literature from 2003 to 2014 was conducted via a comprehensive search of relevant psychological and medical databases. Wide gaps in our knowledge base exist concerning the true extent of teenage suicide due to lack of data, particularly in developing countries, resulting in a Western bias. The gender paradox of elevated suicidality in females with higher completed suicide rates in males is observed in teenage populations worldwide, with the notable exceptions of China and India. Native and indigenous ethnic minority teens are at significantly increased risk of suicide in comparison to general population peers. Often those with the highest need for mental health care (such as the suicidal adolescent) have least access to therapeutic support.Globally, suicide in teenagers remains a major public health concern. Further focused research concerning completed suicides of youth below the age of 18 is required across countries and cultures to understand more about risk as children progress through adolescence. Gender and ethnic variations in suicidality are embedded within cultural, historical, psychological, relational and socio-economic domains. Worldwide, the absence of child/adolescent-specific mental health policies may delay the development of care and suicide prevention. Overall, it is vital that clinicians adopt a holistic approach that incorporates an awareness of age and gender influences, and that cultural competency informs tailored and evaluated intervention programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Developing Countries
  • Ethnicity / psychology*
  • Female
  • Global Health / trends*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide / ethnology*
  • Suicide / trends*
  • Suicide Prevention