Statistics show that the U.S. has seen a troubling rise in suicides in recent years. A report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018 found that the suicide rate in the country increased by 25 percent between 1999 and 2016.
In analyzing the latest available data, the CDC found the suicide rate for white youths 10 to 17 rose 70 percent between 2006 and 2016. And while black youths kill themselves less often than their white counterparts, their rate increased 77 percent.
Diagnoses of severe depression in the U.S. increased by 33 percent or more during the last five years, according to a report released in 2018 by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. But the rate climbed by 47 percent for teenagers and young adults. And for teen girls, it jumped by 65 percent.
A study released in 2017 of pediatric hospitals found that admissions for suicidal thoughts and actions doubled from 2008 to 2015 for patients 5 to 17 years old. White males between 14 and 21 had the highest risk for suicide.
Reasons for the dramatic rise in suicidal thoughts and actions of youth and young adults include poor mental health screening and access to mental health services along with resistance to seek help, according to experts.
And then there’s larger societal issues: more addicted parents to opioids and other drugs, a polarizing political environment, and the frequent use of social media, which can promote self-loathing.
How to get help
For anyone considering suicide (or their parents, relatives, and friends), call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Heather Banis, coordinator of the Los Angeles Archdiocese’s Victims Assistance Ministry, can be reached by calling 213-637-7650 or emailing [email protected].
SPECIAL OFFER! 44 issues of Angelus for just $9.95! Get the finest in Catholic journalism with first-rate analysis of the events and trends shaping the Church and the world, plus the practical advice from the world’s best spiritual writers on prayer and Catholic living, along with great features about Catholic life in Los Angeles. Subscribe now!