weather icon Partly Cloudy

Suicide rate for Nevada children, teens nearly doubled in 2018

The suicide rate among Nevada children and teenagers nearly doubled between 2017 and 2018, according to the state’s Office of Suicide Prevention.

In 2018, 27 children and teens died by suicide, state data released Friday show. Fifteen died by suicide in 2017; in 2008, that number was six.

In Clark County, 19 children under 17 died by suicide last year, compared to 10 in 2017.

“This issue is increasing and comprehensive suicide prevention is important,” Misty Vaughn Allen with the suicide prevention office testified at a state Senate committee hearing. “Any adult working with youth needs to be aware what to look for.”

The suicide prevention office will form a team to investigate the increase, Richard Egan, a spokesman for the office, said in an email Friday.

The increase in suicide among children and teenagers was in contrast to the rates for other age groups, all of which decreased or remained steady in 2018 over the previous year.

According to the suicide prevention office, suicide among minors is becoming more prevalent nationwide. About 2.4 per 100,000 children and teens died by suicide nationwide in 2017, the most recent data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Nevada, that rate was 2.6 per 100,000, according to the CDC.

The state calculates its rate differently, excluding residents who die outside the state. Using its figures, Nevada’s rate was 2.1 per 100,000 children and teens in 2017, vs. a rate of 3.8 per 100,000 in 2018.

Searching for trends

“There is rarely one single event, behavior, or risk factor that can explain this increase, though state child fatality review teams and the Committee to Review Suicide Fatalities seek to find trends and areas for improved communication and prevention across systems,” a release from the suicide prevention office said.

Nevada ranks sixth nationwide for its overall suicide rate, according to the CDC. It’s the seventh leading cause of death in the state.

The Office of Suicide Prevention said in its release it would work with the state Department of Education and Division of Public Safety to apply for a second round of federal funding through Project Aware, which would allow the state office to distribute mental health resources to schools.

The state also uses a program called SafeVoice which lets bystanders anonymously report through a phone call, text or online when they feel their safety or the safety of others is at risk.

Word of the sharp climb in suicides among young Nevadans came at a hearing Friday in Carson City for Senate Bill 204 before the Education Committee. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, would require all Nevada school districts to adopt policies related to suicide prevention and intervention. Those policies would have to address suicide prevention for higher risk populations, including teens with mental illness and disability and LGBTQ students.

About 16 percent of high school students in Nevada have seriously considered suicide, according to the 2017 Nevada Youth Risk Behavior Survey. About 8.5 percent made an attempt.

“Clearly, we have disaffected young people who do not see any support system available to them,” Spearman said.

Drugs, alcohol, not counseling

She was joined by Colyn Abron, a state youth legislator from Clark County, who read from a suicide note he wrote but did not act on. He said he sees his peers turning to drugs and alcohol instead of counseling to cope with mental illness.

“Many students lack the resources and the support system and the education to reach out for help,” he said.

The bill would require teachers and students to be trained on the mental health resources available at school and in the community. It would also necessitate counseling for students and staff impacted by a completed or attempted suicide by a peer and would require schools to reach out to community organizations that could assist with a response.

Suicide prevention policies would vary by school district and between public and private schools, Spearman said, depending on the culture and needs of that school. She rejected suggestions from legislators and opponents of the bill that private schools would be required to teach ideology around sexual orientation they may not agree with or risk losing their licenses.

“Not saying the words does not mean that you don’t have children in those schools who need this service,” she said. “We’re in the 21st century. We have to recognize this.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Las Vegas
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris castigated President Donald Trump’s merit-based immigration plan, saying it was “short-sighted” and overlooked the cultural significance of family, during a campaign stop in Las Vegas. “We cannot allow people to start parsing and pointing fingers and creating hierarchies among immigrants,” Harris told Asian Pacific Islander leaders at a Chinatown restaurant, one of two appearances she made Thursday.
The Right Take New Education Funding Plan - VIDEO
On Monday, Senate Education Committee chair Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, released a new education funding formula. For years, many Democrat politicians have criticized the current education funding formula, called the Nevada Plan. They claim it’s old and outdated. Their biggest beef is that it doesn’t allocate more money for students who are English Language Learners or live in poverty. The theory is that it’s harder to educate those students and so they need additional services, which costs additional money.
Kamala Harris campaigns in Nevada
California Senator Kamala Harris meets with One APIA Nevada, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies empowering Asian Pacific Islander Nevadans. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ben Carson talks housing (Audio only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Ben Carson visits the RJ (Full Audio Only)
Ben Carson discusses housing with the Review-Journal editorial board on Thursday. (Audio only)
Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Nevada
After campaigning at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16 in Henderson, former Vice President Joe Biden spoke with the Review-Journal.
Student serenades Mayor Carolyn Goodman at swearing in
Students from the school she founded, The Meadows School, serenaded Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman during a swearing in ceremony for her third and final term. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Al Gore Speaks At UNLV About Climate Change - Video
Former Vice President of the United States Al Gore talks to an audience at UNLV about the effects of Climate change and how to switch to renewable sources of energy.
Forum on Wages and Working People Highlights - VIDEO
Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, and John Hickenlooper speak in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nevada Politics Today Valerie Weber - VIDEO
Valerie Weber sits down with Victor Joecks to discuss her policies and why she is running for Ward 2 of the Las Vegas City Council.
Cory Booker speaks at UNLV
US Senator Cory Booker speaks at UNLV during a Young Democrats meet and greet on Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
May-Brown describes why some with disabilities need the subminimum wage - VIDEO
Eliminating the subminimum wage will end training and work opportunities for some members of the disabled community. Instead of doing something productive, they would be relegated to adult day care. That’s according to Tracy May-Brown, Opportunity Village’s director of advocacy, board and government relations.
Commission’s decision will delay Red Rock Canyon development
The Clark County Commission Wednesday rejected a developer’s request to approve a preliminary plan for 3,000 homes overlooking Red Rock Canyon before a federal agency grants permission for a roadway leading to the site.
Clark County commissioner calls on landlords to bring properties up to code
Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom has called on landlords in older parts of the valley to bring their properties up to code and keep them well-maintained or face the prospect of inspections, fines and citations. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Harry Reid speaks out against anti-Semitism
Unnerved by the rise in anti-Semitic hate speech and the general pervasiveness of bigotry, including in Nevada, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid organized an educational forum at UNLV on Thursday as part of his call to unite people against it. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and updated on Israeli relations. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump says border wall will have 'hundreds of miles' built by end of next year
President Donald Trump spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas and discussed the progress of the border wall and the current relations there. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Protesters disrupt Trump's speech
Just as President Donald Trump started to make his opening remarks during his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s National Leadership Meeting, protesters disrupted his speech. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roerink On The Problems With Taking Water From Eastern Nevada - Video
The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate the wildlife and people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.
Las Vegas Election Night Wrap-Up
The Review-Journal's Politics and Government Editor, Steve Sebelius, wraps up election night. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Olivia Diaz Speaks To Ward 3 Supporters After Primary Election - Video
Olivia Diaz speaks to her supporters at a election party after results started coming in for the Ward 3 primaries.
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (edited)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife, Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Oscar Goodman Speaks On Behalf Of Mayor At Primary Win (Full)
Oscar Goodman spoke Tuesday night on behalf of his wife Carolyn, who won the mayoral primary election. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Gun Debate Shows Limits Of Government - Video
On Monday, the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committees held a joint hearing on Assembly Bill 291. It would ban bump stocks and allow local governments to pass additional restrictions on firearms.
Lucy Flores speaks out about Biden incident
Former Nevada assemblywoman, Lucy Flores, expresses her feelings about an incident with former Vice President Joe Biden in 2014. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Harry Reid takes the stand in injury lawsuit
Former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid took the stand on Thursday in the product liability lawsuit brought against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Jurors hear opening statements in Reid personal injury trial
Opening statements were made on Tuesday in the product liability lawsuit brought by Harry Reid against against the makers of a resistance exercise band that Reid blames for blinding him in one eye.
Mayor Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels
Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers Meals on Wheels to seniors on March 26, 2019.
Trump order aims to disclose ‘real’ costs for health care

The details of what information will have to be disclosed and how it will be made available to patients must be worked out as part of writing the regulations.

US preschoolers less pudgy in latest sign of falling obesity

Preschoolers on government food aid have grown a little less pudgy, a U.S. study found, offering fresh evidence that previous signs of declining obesity rates weren’t a fluke.