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 ages 10 to 24 years old climbed 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to the report from the 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.

From 1991 to 2017, the rate of reported suicide attempts by African-American teens rose, especially the rate among black boys, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics. The rate for black youths grew even as the rate of suicide attempts by teens in other racial and ethnic groups fell.

From CNN

“The chances of a person in this age range dying by suicide is greater than homicide, when it used to be the reverse,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician at the CDC and an author of the report. “When a leading cause of death among our youth is increasing, it behooves all of us to pay attention and figure out what’s going on.”

Additional findings include the following:

  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for teens from all demographics, second only to accidents, and the third-leading cause of death among black youth between the ages of 15 to 19 in 2017.
  • In 2017, 2,200 teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19 completed suicide.
  • Among high school students, 1 in 5 admitted to experiencing suicidal ideations and 1 in 10 admitted to devising a plan to carry it out despite intensified efforts to reduce youth suicide throughout the country.
  • While reported suicide attempts among black teens increased between 1991 and 2017, boys were more apt to injuries related to their attempts—inferring that they utilized more lethal means.

Despite concern over the rising suicide rates, researchers aren’t sure of the exact causes. 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 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.


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