Suicide rates among US adolescents, young adults continue to increase

Bottom Line: A detailed analysis of recent national data on suicide rates among young people ages 15 to 24 reports 6,241 suicides in 2017, and suicide rates at ages 15 to 19 and 20 to 24 that have increased to their highest point since 2000. This study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take a closer look at suicide rates in the United States among young people and to see if increases from 2000 to 2016 were continuing. Of the 6,241 suicides in 2017, 5,016 were male and 1,225 were female; the suicide rate for those 15 to 19 was 11.8 per 100,000 compared with 8 per 100,000 in 2000. For young adults 20 to 24, the suicide rate in 2017 was 17 per 100,000 compared with 12.5 per 100,000 in 2000. A limitation of the study is that causes of death in death certificates can sometimes be wrong, for example, if a suicide using opioids is mistaken for an accidental overdose. The observed increase in suicide also could reflect better reporting. Future studies should examine other possible contributing factors to the increasing suicide rate.