It is the brutal statistic every Queenslander needs to know.
Twenty-two children and young people aged between 12 and 17 years old suicided in Queensland during 2012-13.
Twelve of those children were aged between 12 and 14, making suicide the leading cause of external deaths for that age group.
The annual report from the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian on the number of deaths of Queensland children found 448 were recorded as having died, a rate of 41.9 deaths per 100,000.
Twenty-eight children and young people were killed in car and other transport incidents and fatal assault and neglect resulted in the deaths of 10 children.
Eight of those children were fatally assaulted by a family member and six were aged under one.
Four of the children were “known to the children protection system”, “with two of these children only becoming known due to the death incident”.
Of the children who took their own life, 12 had made a previous attempt, self-harmed or had shown suicidal behaviour.
In 15 of the 22 suicide deaths, the child had stated their intent, either verbally, online or by a text message – seven within 24 hours of their death. A suicide note was left in two cases.
Three of the children were aged 12, one was 13 years old and eight were 14. Six were indigenous, 14 lived in a city and 11 were known to child protection authorities.
The Commission found that children who were known to authorities had an increased risk of suicide.
“This is because children known to these agencies may often be living in circumstances that are characterised by substance misuse, mental health problems, lack of attachment to significant others, behavioural and disciplinary problems or a history of abuse,” the report read.
But other factors were also identified – nine of the children were suspected to have or had a mental health issue before their death, with depression the main issue identified.
Nine of the children were reported to have known alcohol, drug and/or substance issues, with alcohol the most commonly used substance.
Of the 22 children who suicided, 13 had a history of childhood abuse, including neglect, physical, emotional and sexual abuse.
“Perpetrators of the abuse were typically from within the family, being the child’s parent, step-parent or guardian,” the report found.
‘Contagion’ was identified as a “key risk” by the Commission – for six of the 22 children and young people, the suicide or attempted suicide of another person close to them was found to be an influence in their deaths.
All but two of the children who suicided had a “precipitating incident” which was considered to be a factor in their deaths.
For 10 of those children, it was an argument with a significant other, such as a parent, family member, partner or close friend.
Another five had moved interstate or changed schools before their death, while three had been bullied and another three had experienced the death of a loved one.
Family problems and fighting parents was found to be a factor in two deaths, while another two experienced domestic and family violence.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 131 114 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.
This article first appeared on the Brisbane Times on 13 March, 2014.