US Suicide Rates at 30-Year High

US Suicide Rates at 30-Year HighUS Suicide Rates at 30-Year High

Suicide rates have soared 24% in the US since 1999, with the biggest increases among women, federal researchers said Friday.

Increases of just a percent or so each year added up quickly between 1999 and 2014, with startling increases among white women and Native American women, the team at the National Center for Health Statistics said, NBC News reported.

Overall, there were 13 suicides per 100,000 people in 2014 — up from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999. That marks the highest rate in any year since the mid 1980s, national statistics show.

“The age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States was 24% higher in 2014 than in 1999, and increases were observed for both females and males in all age groups under 75,” Sally Curtin, Margaret Warner and Dr. Holly Hedegaard of the NCHS reported.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 10 to 24. In 2012, more than 5,000 teens and young adults died by suicide, the CDC says.

“Although much lower than for other ages, the suicide rate in 2014 for non-Hispanic white females aged 10-14 years more than tripled from 1999.”

About 1.7 per 100,000 girls this age died by suicide in 2014, up from one out of every 200,000 in 1999.

 Social Media?

It’s puzzling and tragic when a child this young dies by suicide, said Dr. Maria Oquendo, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center. The rise in use of social media may be a factor, she said.

“Now with the use of social media, social interaction is happening online...there are stressful situations like cyber-bullying and can worsen depression. That’s one thing that may be contributing,” she told NBC News.

“Another reason is the reduction in age at puberty. We know that psychiatric disorders like anxiety (or) depression start (around the time of puberty). So an early onset of puberty brings an early onset of those psychiatric disorders.”

The findings make it more important to be aware of the warning signs for suicide which include talking about wanting to die, feeling trapped, unbearable pain, or feeling like a burden to others, acting anxious, behaving recklessly or becoming socially isolated.