Suicide has been on the rise for decades in the United States. No age group has reported a larger increase than teenagers and young adults. Suicide became the second-most common cause of death after accidents, rising from 6.8 deaths to 10.6 deaths for every 100,000 teens and young adults over the decade through 2017.
The coronavirus pandemic has further contributed to the already rising suicide rate. During the last week of June, adults across the country reported more frequent and more severe adverse mental health conditions, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported calls to its national suicide helpline increased 40% in March this year, to approximately 100,000 calls per month. Racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers, unpaid adult caregivers, and young adults have experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average annual number of suicides in every state between 2016 and 2018, for every 100,000 teens and young adults aged 10 to 24 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Compared to the three-year period between 2007 and 2009, suicides among teens and young adults have increased in every state.
While the rise in suicide has contributed to greater premature death across younger segments of the population, overall mortality among teenagers has actually fallen in recent decades largely as a result of declining homicide and traffic accident deaths.
Rising suicide rates among teenage girls have driven the rise among teens overall. Bullying and social media use have been associated with mental health problems in young people. Researchers in the United Kingdom who studied more than 10,000 14-year-olds found greater social media use related to online harassment, poor sleep, low self-esteem and poor body image.