Health

Youth suicide numbers up in LA County, reports show

File illustration.
File illustration.
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The latest data on youth suicide in Los Angeles County shows a considerable increase in the number of young people taking their own lives. The number jumped from 10 in 2014 to 23 in 2015, according to one of three reports released this week.

Deanne Tilton Durfee, executive director for the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, presented the findings from three reports on child abuse and child deaths at a press conference on Wednesday.

The increase in youth suicides in 2015 happened for a variety of reasons, including cyberbullying, she told KPCC. It's difficult to point down the causes since each case of child suicide is different, she said.

The gender breakdown in the reports was relatively even. Hanging was more common in L.A. County than the use of a gun, Durfee said. 

“In many cases, it’s a problem with a child who has broken up with a significant other," she said, "and in addition, the relationship at home may be difficult."

The reports also found that the number of children killed at the hands of a parent or other adult rose from 15 in 2014 to 18 in 2015.

The three reports offered multi-year perspectives on child abuse and fatalities in L.A. County, Durfee said. They are to be used to call for legislation requiring training in recognizing and reporting child abuse to receive a medical license, as well asa system to assure hospitals in L.A. County screen newborns, injured infants and toddlers for child abuse, she added.