The suicide rate for Americans in almost all age ranges has increased since 1999, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the group whose suicide rate has increased the most is that of girls between 10 and 14 years of age.
While the number of suicides among girls of that age range is not the highest, the rate has tripled from 0.5 to 1.7 per 100,000 people in 15 years. In comparison, middle aged women had the highest number of suicides.
In the United States, more than 40,000 people committed suicide in 2013 alone. Mortality rates were 24 percent higher in 2014 than in 1999 for both men and women, and rates were higher overall for men.
Every age group under 75 has seen an increase. And that's just the completed suicides. There are many more attempts.
The United States is now faced with the highest suicide rate since 1986.
The lowest rate was for those 75 years of age and older, whose suicide rate has dropped by 11 percent.
On a more positive and perhaps surprising note, there are fewer suicides by firearms than there used to be, dropping from almost 62 percent as of 1999 to about 55 percent as of 2014. This is, however, still the main method by which men commit suicide.
Boys between 10 and 14 years of age had the second-highest rate increase, following girls of that age range.
In the last half of the 1980s, suicide rates were lower, and the trend was going in a promising direction.
Dr. Maria Oquendo, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University Medical Center and president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association, said that this decrease in suicides ended in 1999, according to an article on NPR.org.
Oquendo hypothesized that this decline may have been due to more effective antidepressants that had fewer side effects.
Several theories arise around why these rates increased again. Perhaps it was the economy, job losses and lack of access to health care and insurance. Maybe it was the increase in heroin and painkiller abuse.