Federal data shows that suicide rates have increased steadily across nearly every demographic over the past two decades, rising by 30% from 1999 to 2016. Almost 45,000 Americans died by suicide in ’16, making it the 10th most common cause of death that year, according to the CDC. Increases have been so drastic that researchers have blamed suicide, along with substance abuse, for recent declines in overall U.S. life expectancy, according to an editorial published in a recent issue of the BMJ.
While suicide is most common among middle-aged and older adults, rates are on the rise in many age groups. Almost twice as many children were hospitalized for thinking about or attempting suicide in 2015 as in ’08, according to a study published in May in the journal Pediatrics.
Young women appear to be disproportionately affected by the overall increase. The suicide rate among girls ages 10 to 19 rose by 70% from 2010 to ’16–from 423 deaths to 687–and it hit a 40-year high among female teens in ’15, according to CDC data. This increase has been substantial enough to narrow the well-established gender gap between the numbers of boys and girls who die by suicide.
Youth Suicide Rates are also rising!
“We need to be more connected and there for each other,” Schuchat says. “[Suicide is] widespread enough, and so, so difficult for those left behind, that we really want to do all we can.”
If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255