A new study of national data on suicide rates among young Americans reveals rates have hit their highest point since 2000, reported Reuters.
Rates among Americans started to increase during the financial crisis (2007), sharp accelerations were also seen on a post-crisis basis between 2014 and 2017, according to the report published in JAMA. The study, called Suicide Rates Among U.S. Adolescents, Young Adults Continue to Increase, showed teen suicides had been growing faster in girls than boys until when it flipped to boys in 2015.
“There is a surge of suicides in adolescent males,” said the study’s lead author Oren Miron, a research associate in the department of biomedical informatics at the Harvard Medical School. “Previous research has talked about the rise in females. Our study shows both are at much higher risk.”
For a closer examination at suicides by age, Miron and his team pulled data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Underlying Cause of Death database.
Researchers noted that out of 6,241 suicides in individuals aged 15 to 24 in 2017, at least 80% were males and 20% females. The rate of suicides in teens aged 15-24 in 2017 was 11.8 per 100,000, and 17.9 per 100,000 boys and 5.4 per 100,000 girls. Young adults aged 20-24 had suicide rates for 2017 at 17 per 100,000 overall and 27.1 per 100,000 young men and 6.2 per 100,000 young women.
In contrast, the rate among teenagers in 2000 was 8 per 100,000, which continued unchanged until the financial crisis in 2007. The rate increased by 3% per year between 2008 to 2014 and jumps 10% per year between 2014 and 2017.
In boys, the rate declined between 2000 and 2007 then troughed and moved higher: 2.6% per year between 2007 and 2014 and 14.2% per year between 2015 and 2017. In girls, the rate was below trend between 2000 and 2010 but then jumped by 8.2% per year between 2010 and 2017.
Rates for young adults were rising between 2000 and 2013 but soared by 5.6% per year from 2013 to 2017. In young men, rates increased by 5.5% per year between 2013 and 2017, and in young women, they increased by 4% between 2000 and 2017.
The accuracy of the deaths was based on death certificates, which can sometimes be subjected to error.
Researchers also failed to investigate the factors behind the suicide rate increases.”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 researchers wrote.
Nadine Kaslow, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine and chief psychologist at the Grady Health System in Atlanta, who wasn’t involved in the study, told CNN that the research highlights a tremendous surge in suicide rates among young people, “this is unfortunately not a surprise.”
We have reported before on the jump in suicides, particularly among millennials, but this new study “adds a couple of points; one is noting this particular increase in young males and also in this younger age group of 15 to 19,” Kaslow said.
“There have been a number of things that people have talked about lately. One is just sort of increasing rates of psychological pain or psychological distress in young people — more anxiety and more depression — and I think that’s for a number of reasons,” Kaslow said.
And here at Zerohedge, we find it very interesting that suicide rates among young Americans moved higher right before and after the financial crisis. Perhaps, millennials have finally figured out the American Dream is dead, the gig-economy is a scam, housing isn’t affordable, opioids are highly addictive, wages are terrible, and student debt is holding back major life decisions.