Violent Death Rates Rising in Children, Teens, Young Adults

Megan Brooks

October 17, 2019

Suicide rates increased 56% among 10- to 24-year-olds in the US between 2007 and 2017, while homicide rates increased 23% from 2014 through 2017 for same age group, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Deaths due to suicide and homicide, often referred to collectively as violent deaths, have consistently been a major cause of premature death to persons aged 10 to 24 in the United States," Sally Curtin, MA, and Melonie Heron, PhD, from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) note in their data brief

After holding steady from 2000 to 2007, the suicide rate for young people 10 to 24 years old in the US climbed from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.6 per 100,000 in 2017 (a 56% increase), the authors report.

The suicide rate for teens (ages 15 to 19 years) was also stable from 2000 to 2007, and then increased 76% from 2007 to 2017 (from 6.7 to 11.8 per 100,000).

The suicide rate for children aged 10 to 14 declined from 2000 to 2007 (from 1.5 to 0.9 per 100,000), and then nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017, to 2.5 per 100,000.

The pace of increase for suicide for the 10 to 24 age bracket was greater from 2013 to 2017 than from 2007 to 2013 (7% vs 3% annually, on average), the report notes.

The rate of homicide among people 10 to 24, which had been stable from 2000 to 2007, declined 23% from 2007 to 2014 (from 9.0 to 6.7 per 100,000) and then jumped 18% through 2017 (7.9 per 100,000).

In 2017, suicide and homicide were the second- and third-leading causes of death for persons aged 15 to 19 and 20 to 24, and ranked second and fifth, respectively, among persons aged 10 to 14, the authors report.

A separate analysis by CDC researchers released earlier this year showed that US suicide rates have risen significantly over the past two decades and are now at the highest level since World War II, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

Colleen Carr, MPH, director of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, told Medscape Medical News, "Greater research into this topic is needed to better understand what's leading to these increased rates among youth and young adults so we can tailor our prevention efforts accordingly.

"It is important to recognize that suicide is not caused by one single factor but instead a range of factors that include mental health conditions, but also include important situational factors that many of us will experience in a lifetime — including social, physical, emotional or financial issues."

"It's important to reinforce that resources are available to help youth or young adults that are struggling or in crisis today, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) and the Crisis Text Line (741741)," she added.

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Data Brief 352. Published
October 17, 2019. Full text

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