Survey: Suicidal thoughts rise among Maine teens

Posted Feb. 03, 2009, at 10:27 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — A program that screened teenagers at six Maine high schools finds that an increasing number admits to having had thoughts of suicide.

TeenScreen, which is affiliated with Columbia University, screened teenagers at schools in Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Mount Desert Island.

Among the questions posed to students was whether they had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide in the last three months. Carol Carothers of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maine says those answering “yes” to either has grown from 1 percent last year to 14 percent this year.

Educators caution that the number of students involved in the screening is small. They say the rise in suicidal thoughts may be linked to more cases of depression, worries about uncertain futures or simply more kids being honest about their feelings.

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