Suicide rates increasing among adolescents, especially for females

Not too long ago, I wrote a piece at the Upshot on how Denmark has been focusing on things that really kill kids – like suicide – which has had an impressive impact on their outcomes. Recently, the CDC released a report that shows that things haven’t been going as well for similarly aged adolescents and young adults in the US:

CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System mortality data for the period 1994–2012. Trends in suicide rates were examined by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, region of residence, and mechanism of suicide. Results of the analysis indicated that, during 1994–2012, suicide rates by suffocation increased, on average, by 6.7% and 2.2% annually for females and males, respectively. Increases in suffocation suicide rates occurred across demographic and geographic subgroups during this period. Clinicians, hotline staff and others who work with young persons need to be aware of current trends in suffocation suicides in this group so that they can accurately assess risk and educate families.

Their charts are even more compelling. This is suicides per 100,000 pop for females age 10-24 years in the US:



Not that you’d have trouble seeing it, but I’ve highlighted the increase in overall suicide rate in the last 6 years or so. It’s not subtle, and it’s concerning. We shouldn’t ignore it. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in this age group, and accounted for more than 5000 deaths in 2012 alone.


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