In “Health & Science,” the Washington Post (4/22, Keating, Bernstein) reports research (pdf) released Friday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found the suicide rate in the US rose 24 percent between 1999 and 2014 to 13 per 100,000 people, led by an even greater rise among middle-aged white people, particularly women. The overall rise in part can be attributed to substance addiction, “gray divorce,” and the rise of the Internet and social media. In addition, economic distress in wake of the recent recession appears to underpin some of the increase for middle-aged Caucasians.
Disturbingly, the suicide rate among young girls is also increasing, the Los Angeles Times (4/21, Healy) reports in “Science Now.” For example, “among girls five to 15 years old – a segment of the population among whom suicide was a rare phenomenon in 1999, rates of suicide tripled between 1999 and 2014, with one suicide yearly for every 6,660 such girls.”
USA Today (4/22, Asrar) reports that CDC behavioral scientist Kristin Holland, PhD, MPH, “believes there are multiple factors contributing towards the increase in suicide rate, and mental health is only one of them.” She stated, “Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not have a mental health problem. It’s a public health problem.” Holland added, “We do not have enough resources directed at suicide prevention, especially compared to funding behind other leading causes of death.”
— “U.S. suicide rate has risen sharply in the 21st century,” Dan Keating and Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post, April 22, 2016.