Teenage, adolescent and young adult suicide rates rose 56 percent between 2007 and 2017, a new report revealed.
And rates have risen most rapidly among children between 10 and 14, tripling since 2007.
While self-directed violence increased, homicide rates between the ages of 10 and 24 fell by 18 percent in the same period, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Wednesday.
Suicide remains the number two cause of death for young people in the United States, and murder is the third murder of American teenagers and adolescents aged 10 to 24 years.
An alarming increase has also been reported in children aged 15 to 19, among whom suicide has surged more than 75 percent since 2014, an increase of 10 percent every year since then.
The new statistics come amid growing concerns that the mental health of US youth, teenagers and young adults is in a grim state, with some experts blaming smart phones, social media and the immediate decline of support networks.
Since 2000, killings (green) among people aged 10-24 in the US have decreased by 18%, overall, but after years of stability, suicide rates (blue) have increased by 56% in the last decade
The cruel deaths – especially among the youngest Americans – arose not only because of political problems but also public health problems in the US.
Although in the long run the killings have gone down, in recent years there has been an increase in killings and suicides among children aged 10 to 24 years.
Finally, homicide rates among youth, adolescents and young adults have fallen between 2016 and 2017, but overall have jumped by 36 percent since 2000.
The increase sharply between 2013 and 2016, up about six percent every year – six times the rate of increase seen between 2000 and 2013 before finally falling back in 2017.
Even more worrying is the increasing number of suicides that are happening quickly.
The suicide rate among young people was quite stable between 2000 and 2007.
But since then, they have risen sharply over the past decade.
In 2007, there were 6.8 deaths due to suicide per every 100,000 people aged 10-24 in the US.
In 2017, that number will swell to 10.6 per 100,000.
Between these broad age ranges, suicide rates – and their changes – vary dramatically.
Suicide actually decreased – down 40 percent – among children between 10 and 14 through 2007.
In a sharp reversal, the suicide rate among these youths has tripled in 2017.
Meanwhile, killings followed a more stable trend among age groups, decreasing 18 percent between 2000 and 2017.
The most dramatic increase in suicide (blue) is among the youngest children, with rates tripling between the ages of 10 to 14 years between 2000 and 2017, as shown by the CDC chart
Among adolescents (ages 15-19) and young adults (20-24), deaths from violence of both forms have increased recently.
Since 2007, the adolescent age group has seen a sharp suicide trend, increasing by 76 percent.
And since 2014, that step has accelerated. Ten percent more teenagers have died from suicide each year since then.
Netflix's controversial show, 13 Reasons Why be under surveillance to 'glorify' committed suicide in his portrayal after the death of a middle school student due to suicide.
Health officials fear the event will trigger an increase in suicide.
Indeed, researchers found a bump in an online search after the inaugural event in March 2017 – but the latest data barely capture the deaths of teenage suicides that occurred after the debut show, showing that the trend began long before 13 Reasons Why do it.
Murder deaths have declined among teenagers between 15 and 19 (green) while suicide (blue) appeared 76% between 2000 and 2017
After declining from 2007 to 2014, homicide has risen again among teenagers, increasing 30 percent since 2014.
The trends in the oldest group included in the report are somewhat less dramatic – although the increase in suicide has increased since 2013, increasing by six percent year-on-year.
After dropping 28 percent from 2000 to 2014, the murder rate increased to 15 percent in 2017, the CDC reported.
The new report does not try this disturbing trend, or why one form of death by violence can decrease while another surges so dramatically.
But it follows widespread reports that levels of anxiety, depression and mental health problems generally increase among children, adolescents and young adults in the US.
A recent American Psychological Association study found that the number of adolescents reported experiencing 'severe psychological distress' has increased significantly among teenagers and young adults.
In 2018, one if five teenagers between 12 and 18 have at least one mental health disorder.
Depression, trauma, disorders of substance and alcohol abuse and access to deadly means are the main risk factors for suicide among young people, and working to address each of these can save the lives of a number of young people in the US.
- For confidential assistance, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here
- For confidential support on suicide issues in the UK, contact the Samaritans at 08457 90 90 90, visit the local branch of the Samaritans or click here
- For confidential support in Australia, please contact Lifeline at 13 11 14 or click here