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Chicago Teen Suicide Rate Highest In Nation, CDC Survey Says

By Chris Bentley in News on Jun 8, 2012 7:20PM

Photo Credit: kwest/
One in six high school students in Chicago (15.8 percent) have attempted suicide in the past 12 months, according to a Youth Risk Behavior report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the highest rate of 21 urban school districts surveyed.

Nearly one in five female Chicagoans (19.8 percent) said they seriously considered attempting suicide during the 12 months before the survey. One in ten males (10.8 percent) surveyed in Chicago said they had seriously considered suicide. That’s an increase over last year’s data, the first for suburban Cook County, which showed 13 percent of all students had considered suicide.

The data came from a national survey of more than 15,000 students in public and private high schools, including 1,907 students from Chicago. The Chicago sample skewed female (52 to 48 percent), and covered students in grades 9 through 12 — although freshmen and sophomores made up 57.3 percent of the responses.

The survey also found 94.3 percent said they rarely or never wore a bicycle helmet; 52.2 percent said they’d had sex; 51.1 percent said they’d tried cigarettes; and 20.6 percent said they hadn’t had 60 minutes of physical activity in the week before the survey.

Milwaukee led the nation in teen toking, with 54.1 percent of high school students reporting marijuana use.