Adolescents and young adults have seen the highest rate of deaths due to suicide in nearly two decades, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today.
In 2000, the suicide rate for adolescents ages 15 to 19 was 8 deaths per 100,000. In 2017, the rate increased to 11.8 per 100,000. The CDC found that most of that increase occurred between 2007 and 2017.
Researchers determined death rates using the CDC Underlying Cause of Death database, a national data set based on death certificates and population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The analysis specifically examined ages 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years for males and females to determine how and when trends shifted.
The suicide rate is consistently higher for males than females, although there was a slight decreasing trend in male deaths between 2000 and 2007. In 2017, the rate of suicides was 17.9 per 100,000 in males and 5.4 per 100,000 in females among the age groups studied.
The report attributes the rise to increases in social media use, anxiety, depression, and self-harm, however, the CDC states that a more detailed analysis of the trends in the age group is needed, along with sustained examination of data in order to determine whether the rise in suicides is continuing.
“Future studies should examine possible contributing factors and attempt to develop prevention measures by understanding the causes for the decrease in suicides found in the late 1990s,” the report says.
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A version of this news article first appeared in the Rules for Engagement blog.