Why are suicide rates on the rise?

Why are suicide rates on the rise?


This is the key question we are left with after some startling news from a startling article from Oren et al. in JAMA. Using data from the CDC Underlying Cause of Death database between 2000 and 2017, they find that:

The suicide rate at ages 15 to 19 years and 20 to 24 years increased in 2017 to its highest point since 2000, with a recent increase especially in males and in ages 15 to 19 years. 

The key figures from the article are below:

So what are the reasons for this rise? The study does not get into the causes of the rise in suicide, but PBS Newshour offers ideas for speculation. One possibility is the growing opioid epidemic. Another potential culprit is additional mental health stress due to social media. The data could also be a statistical anomaly. If suicide is less stigmatized, families may feel less pressure to try to hide that a death was due to suicide.



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