Suicide Said A Serious
Option For 44,000 12 And
13 Year Old Canadian Children
By Sean Durkan
Toronto Sun

OTTAWA -- Suicide is a serious option for 44,000 children in the 12 to 13 age group, suggests a new study by Statistics Canada.
An ongoing survey plotting the development of Canadian children found that 7%, or 44,000 adolescents in this age group, seriously considered killing themselves in 1996-97, StatsCan reports.
Girls were almost twice as likely as boys to contemplate ending their lives. And while depression, low self-esteem and school problems all appeared to be factors, StatsCan found children who reported problems with one or both parents were 5.5 times more likely to consider suicide.
These findings are included in the latest report from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, which was begun in 1994-95 and attempts to chart development of youngsters at two-year intervals.
The study began with a group of 3,400 children aged 10 and 11. These same children were given new questionnaires in 1996-97 -- the results of which were released yesterday.
The latest study also found 41% of 12 and 13 year olds were involved in at least one fight in the previous year, though only 6% said the outcome required any treatment for injuries.
Boys were more aggressive, with 55% reported being in a fight, compared to 27% of girls.
Another 31% of the adolescents -- 36% of boys, 27% of girls -- said they had stolen at least once in the previous year.
The study also found 10% of 12 and 13 year olds were starting to smoke.
StatsCan began its latest report on a positive note, stressing 93% of the children said at the time they filled out their survey they were happy with their lives, and 95% indicated their futures looked good. Of those children in one-parent families, 89% said they were happy.
The report also stresses fighting, stealing and other behaviour problems in early adolescence are "a part of growing up and, within reasonable limits, can be considered normal."
It also emphasized the need for further data and analysis of some of its negative findings.
Even so, the study did reveal some disturbing indicators, including the fact those children who were fighting and stealing at ages 10 and 11 were four times more likely to be engaged in the same activities at ages 12 and 13.