The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported an alarming rise in the number of teen suicides between 2006 and 2016.
Differentiating between white and black youths, the data analysis shows that the number of self-inflicted deaths of white children between the ages of 10 and 17 increased 70 percent during the time span. Black children and teens are less likely to kill themselves, but their suicide rate rose even higher judging from the study: an increase of 77 percent.
In a separate study from last year, CNN reported that the suicide rate among girls between the ages of 15 and 19 rose to a 40-year high in 2015.
Societal stresses like parents with substance abuse problems, poverty, and political rhetoric are also named as culprits.
With a society that is now plugged in to propaganda and messaging at all times, the exposure is even more difficult for teenagers to process. Lauren Anderson, executive director of the Josh Anderson Foundation (named after her 17-year-old brother who killed himself in 2009), points out that the teens are more susceptible to reacting impulsively than adults might.
“With this population, it’s the perfect storm for life to be extra difficult,” Anderson said. “Based on the development of the brain, they are more inclined to risky behavior, to decide in that moment.”
And it can become an epidemic within communities. Just in the past several months, six students took their lives in one Ohio school district.
But the rise in suicides isn’t only limited to teens. Tom Simon, an author of a CDC report on the topic said, “We know that overall in the US, we’re seeing increases in suicide rates across all age groups,” calling the pattern “pretty robust.”
Referring to a different study, The New York Times reported in 2016 that U.S. suicide levels had reached their highest in almost 30 years.
“It’s really stunning to see such a large increase in suicide rates affecting virtually every age group,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior adviser for health care at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Out of all ethnic groups, American Indians saw the highest rise in suicide rates with an increase of 89 percent for women in their population. Middle-aged white women had an escalation of 80 percent. That tracking was between 1999 to 2014.
Suicide numbers amongst teens, nonetheless, are still garnering noteworthy attention. In the study by the National Center for Health Statistics, it was found that although the rate was low for girls ten to fourteen, the rate of suicide had tripled in the age group during the time of the study.