Suicide rate in U.S. on the rise, with spike for girls age 10-14

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new report saying that the U.S. suicide rate rose between 1999 and 2014. That followed a steady decline between 1986 and 1999. Photo by Arilieu/Flickr

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new report saying that the U.S. suicide rate rose between 1999 and 2014. That followed a steady decline between 1986 and 1999. Photo by Arilieu/Flickr

Nationwide, the suicide rate is on the rise, and the Great Recession may be partially to blame.

After more than a decade of decline, the suicide rate in the United States climbed 24 percent to 13 out of 100,000 people between 1999 and 2014 with men far outpacing women, according to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Starting in 2006, that rate climbed even faster.

Suicide rates increased from 1999 through 2014
Deaths per 100,000 by gender

 Male
 Female

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“It’s a broad-based increase in suicide,” said Sally Curtin, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the report’s main authors.

All age groups younger than 75 saw a rise in suicide since 1999, the report says.

While the numbers remain small, the suicide rate among girls age 10-14 tripled from 1999 to 2014 and experienced the largest percent increase. That finding surprised Curtin, who explained that deaths are just one element to consider when studying suicide.

“For that group, the deaths are just the tip of the iceberg,” Curtin said. “There are so many more attempts and hospitalizations.”

According to CDC’s data, suicide attempts among 10- to 14-year-olds rose 135 percent between 2001 and 2014, said Deb Stone, a behavioral scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When examining suicide rate by race, researchers found the steepest rise among American Indian and Alaskan Natives, according to a newly released supplemental brief.

Risk factors included mental health problems, substance abuse, availability of lethal means, and exposure to another’s suicide, or contagion effect, Stone said.

Despite rising rates, Stone said, “We know that suicide is a preventable public health problem.”

She stressed that schools, workplaces and healthcare settings all can play a role in suicide prevention. These strategies might include: Educating people about suicide risk factors, decreasing stigma and reducing the availability of lethal means to people who are at-risk.​

She also recommended that if someone needs help, they should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 where around-the-clock counselors are available.

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