Suicide and homicide rates have increased in recent years among young people in the U.S., according to a new federal report.
The suicide rate among people 10 to 24 years old climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to a report from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of homicide deaths decreased by 23% from 2007 to 2014 but then increased by 18% through 2017.
Violent death, including homicide and suicide, is a major cause of premature death for the age group. Around 2010, the death rate of suicides among adolescents and young adults surpassed the rate of homicide deaths, according to the report.
“The odds of a person in this age range dying by suicide are greater than homicide when used to be the reverse, ”said Sally Curtin, a statistician at the CDC and an author of the report. "When the leading cause of death among our youth is increasing, it behooves all of us to pay attention and figures out what goes on."
Suicide rates in general have increased in the U.S. across all ages and ethnic groups, rising roughly 30% from 1
Ms. Curtin and a colleague, Melonie Heron, pulled a death certificate from the CDC's National Vital Statistics System, looking at the underlying cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. They analyzed data from 2000 to 2017, the most recent year of the CDC's available
Both suicides and homicide deaths among the age group were relatively stable from 2000 to 2007, the report says.
Within the next decade, suicide deaths increased from 6.8 deaths per 100,000 people to 10.6 deaths, with 2,449 more suicides in 2017 than in 2007. While the 10- to 14-year-olds had by far the lowest rates of suicides, that rate nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017.
"Unfortunately, it's not surprising, but it is highly disturbing," said Benjamin Shain, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NorthShore Medical Group in Illinois, who says he is most often seeing adolescent patients at risk for suicides. "Seeing it statistically across the country hits me in a different way." A rise in depression among adolescents, drug use, stress and access to firearms might all be contributing factors, experts say.
Some mental health experts suggest that social media use among teens might be fueling the increase in mental health conditions and leading to greater suicide risk, and some early studies have linked smartphone use to anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation among adolescents .
The recent visibility of suicide in the media and online might also increase suicide death rates, experts say.
Homicide deaths among youths in the United States had decreased dramatically since the 1990s and was mostly in decline and stable through 2014, says Daniel Webster, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Youth Violence Prevention.
The growth in homicide death rates in 2015 and 2016 were concentrated in a few cities, such as Louis and Chicago.
Share Your Thoughts
What should parents do to help teens at risk of suicide? Join the conversation below.
The increased homicides are most likely related to drug markets, poverty and the breakdown in the relationship between police and communities, according to experts on youth violence, but it is hard to discern what is influencing the national change .
School-related shootings account for less than 2% of all youth homicide deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. While school-related mass shootings garner significant attention,
data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2018 suggest that the slight upward trend in youth homicide deaths from 2014 through 2017 has started to reverse again.
Copyright © 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8