Experts Explain Possible Reasons Behind A 56% Jump In Youth Suicide Rate In 10 Years

Audrey Conklin

The national youth suicide rate has increased by 56% in 10 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The suicide rate among people ages 10-24 increased from 6.8 per 100,000 people in 2007 to 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2017. Among youth ages 10-14, the suicide rate nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017, according to the report released Thursday.

For all age groups between 10 and 24-years-old studied by the CDC, suicide rates surpassed homicide rates from 2011 to 2017, the report notes. In 2017, the suicide rate among those in the same youth demographic was the second-leading cause of death. Additionally, the suicide rate in the U.S. in general has increased 30%, the report notes.

“The chances of a person in this age range dying by suicide is greater than homicide, when it used to be the reverse,” CDC statistician and author of the report Sally Curtin told The Wall Street Journal. “When a leading cause of death among our youth is increasing, it behooves all of us to pay attention and figure out what’s going on.”

FDA antidepressant warning and decrease in prescriptions

Experts highlight the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) decision to label antidepressants with a “blackbox warning” in 2005, which was extended to include children in 2007, as a potential reason behind the increasing suicide rate about U.S. youth.

“The thing I haven’t seen discussed very much is the fear of the treatments for mental illness and the ‘blackbox warning’ that the FDA put on antidepressants many years ago [describing] the risk of increase in suicidal thought,” clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia and author of “This is Depression?” Dr. Diane McIntosh told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“A lot of doctors who prescribe started thinking — without reading the details of the medication — ‘this could cause my patient to commit suicide.’ So not only are they not prescribing. They’re not making the diagnosis,” she continued.

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