High Poverty Blamed for Suicidal Behavior Among Cleveland Public School Students

Feb 23, 2017

According to a new federal survey, a larger portion of Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school students attempt suicide than in many other major city school systems.  

According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voluntary survey of students in 19 urban school districts, more than 20 percent of Cleveland students attempted suicide in 2015. Another 20 percent said they seriously considered taking their own life. Bill Denihan is CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. He says the numbers are not surprising considering Cleveland’s poverty rate.

“On any one day Cleveland, Ohio could be number one, two or three in America with the poverty level.  And in housing there are more children who are homeless than adults in this area. And I think those two factors are major factors that we have to be mindful of when we’re talking about this.”

Cleveland school officials say the district has many effective programs that help students considering suicide. And, they add that the CDC survey’s margin of error puts Cleveland even with other high-poverty cities like Detroit and Chicago.