Rates of Teen Girls’ Suicides Have Doubled

You may have noticed headlines in the last 24 hours discussing that, according to the CDC, the rates of suicide for teen girls ages 15-19 have recently doubled.

While this is very troubling, what concerns me even more is that the rates of suicide for girls ages 10-14 have tripled.

Here are some other statistics: Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-24, and it results in about 4600 deaths every year in that age group.

However, it is misleading to worry just about girls. Boys are much more likely to die from suicide. In the age group of 10-24, CDC reports that 81% of the deaths were males and only 19% were females. What we know is that, while girls are more likely to contemplate suicide, boys are more likely to actually complete it.

So, don’t listen to the media raising panic about girls ages 15-19. Watch for signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in girls AND boys. Remember, that boys and younger girls are actually at more risk.

Risk factors for suicidal thoughts/behaviors:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Stressful life events
  • Access to lethal weapons
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others (on YouTube, social media, television shows, such as 13 Reasons Why) or hearing about it from friends.
  • History of depression, anxiety, ADHD, or other mental illness
  • Family history of suicide
  • History of previous suicide attempts

If your child is at risk or is struggling with mental health difficulties, please contact a mental health professional, a pediatrician, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Published by Dr. Elena Mikalsen

I am a Clinical Psychologist and a novelist.

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