A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that suicide rates among young people in the United States have increased by 60% since 2011. The report, which was published on Thursday, found that suicide rates for people ages 10 to 24 rose from 2011 to 2023.
The report also found that suicide rates are rising for all age groups, but the increase is especially pronounced among young people. For example, suicide rates for people ages 15 to 19 rose by 75% from 2011 to 2023.
Experts Cite a Variety of Factors for the Increase in Suicide Rates
Experts believe that a variety of factors are contributing to the increase in suicide rates among young people. These factors include:
- Increased social isolation and loneliness: Young people are spending more time online and less time interacting with others in person. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are known risk factors for suicide.
- Increased access to firearms: Firearms are the most common method of suicide in the United States. As more young people have access to firearms, the risk of suicide increases.
- Increased rates of mental illness: Mental illness is a major risk factor for suicide. As rates of mental illness among young people have increased, so too have suicide rates.
- Increased cyberbullying and online harassment: Cyberbullying and online harassment can have a devastating impact on young people’s mental health. These experiences can lead to feelings of worthlessness, isolation, and hopelessness, which are all risk factors for suicide.
Experts Call for Increased Prevention Efforts
In light of the findings of the CDC report, experts are calling for increased prevention efforts. These efforts should focus on reducing social isolation, increasing access to mental health care, and addressing the problem of cyberbullying and online harassment.
Ken Zimmerman and Arvind Sooknanan from Fountain House Discuss the Study
Ken Zimmerman and Arvind Sooknanan from Fountain House, a national mental health nonprofit, joined to talk about the study. They discussed the factors that are contributing to the increase in suicide rates among young people, and they offered suggestions for prevention.
Zimmerman said that the increase in social isolation is a major concern. “Young people are spending more time online and less time interacting with others in person,” he said. “This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are known risk factors for suicide.”
Sooknanan agreed that social isolation is a major problem. “We need to find ways to help young people connect with others,” he said. “This could involve providing more opportunities for social interaction, such as after-school programs or community centers.”
Zimmerman and Sooknanan also discussed the problem of cyberbullying and online harassment. “Cyberbullying can have a devastating impact on young people’s mental health,” said Zimmerman. “We need to do more to address this problem.”
Sooknanan said that schools and parents need to be more aware of the problem of cyberbullying. “We need to teach young people about cyberbullying and how to deal with it,” he said. “We also need to make sure that schools have policies in place to address cyberbullying.”
Zimmerman and Sooknanan concluded by saying that the increase in suicide rates among young people is a serious problem. They urged people to take action to prevent suicide. “We need to do more to help young people,” said Zimmerman. “We need to provide them with the support they need to stay safe.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. You are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help.
Here are some resources that can help:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
- The Jed Foundation: https://www.jedfoundation.org/
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: https://afsp.org/
Please know that you are not alone, and there is help available.