Teen suicide rate reaches record high amongst girls

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According to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics, 2015 saw a record high in the number of suicides among girls between the ages of 15 and 19.

During a 40-year period, from 1975-2015, the suicide rate among females increased from 2.9 per 100,000 to 5.1 per 100,000. The rate in the demographic doubled between 2007 and 2015, according to the research. The rate was reportedly 2.4 per 100,000 in 2007, but that was down from 3.7 per 100,000 in 1990.

The suicide rate for males in the same age group had decreased in 2015, the study found. That rate peaked in the mid-80s and remained high until the mid-90s. In 1975, the rate was 12 per 100,000. By 1990, the rate had increased to 18.1 per 100,000.

In 2007, the rate for males in the demographic decreased to 10.8 per 100,000 but saw a rise in 2015 to 14.2 per 100,000.

Similarly, last month, statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the suicide rate among 10-14-year-old kids doubled between 2007 and 2014.

The high suicide rate in the older teen years could stem from drugs, depression and social media exposure, according to experts in the field.

Prior studies published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that females attempt suicide three to four times as often as males, but boys are more successful.

Females are more likely to have suicidal thoughts, but males represent 77.9% of all suicides. Males most frequently use firearms or hanging, which is often fatal, while females more often use pills, the effect of which can frequently be mitigated with medical intervention.

According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, knowing the warning signs of suicide may help determine if a loved one is at risk. They recommend seeking help for the following symptoms:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

The prevention lifeline suggests that if suicide is suspected, starting a conversation, providing support, and directing the person at risk to help can prevent suicides and save lives.

They recommend not leaving the person alone, reducing access to methods of self-harm, offering immediate counseling and calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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