A research paper published this week in the JAMA medical journal shows an increase in the suicide rate among young people, with particular attention being paid to the fact that the rate among those aged 15 to 24 reached its highest point since 2000 in 2017.
Researchers utilized info from the CDC's Underlying Cause of Death database, which pulls death certificate and population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
"The suicide rate at ages 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years increased in 2017 to its highest point since 2000, with a recent increase especially in males and in ages 15 to 19 years," the team, which includes Harvard Medical School research associate Oren Miron, noted in their findings.
Speaking with CNN in a piece published Tuesday, Miron explained his personal connection to the study of suicide rates among young people and expressed urgency regarding the latest figures. "The data shows that it is a very real threat," Miron said.
For those between the ages of 15 to 19, data showed a jump in the suicide rate from 8 per 100,000 in 2000 to 11.8 per 100,000 in 2017. For those between the ages of 20 and 24, the rate increased from 12.5 per 100,000 to 17 per 100,000 during the same timeframe. The total number of suicides in 2017 was 6,241. 5,016 of those were male, while 1,225 were female.
Moving forward, researchers are calling for studies in the future to take a closer look at possible death certificate inaccuracies (i.e. mistakenly reported accidental overdoses) and the perceived decrease in suicide rates recorded in the late 1990s for a better understanding of the larger picture.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please notify someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.