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Number of young adults who have contemplated suicide rises

September 16, 2016
by Tom Valentino, Senior Editor
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The number of young adults in the U.S. who had serious thoughts of suicide significantly increased from 2014 to 2015 and remains significantly higher than any other age group, according to a report issued this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2015, 8.3% of young adults (ages 18 to 25) seriously thought about killing themselves, compared to 7.5% the year prior.

Overall, 4% of the U.S. adult population (9.8 million adults) said they seriously considered suicide, 1.1% made suicide plans and 0.6% of adults made non-fatal suicide attempts. While the overall percentage of adults has who had serious thoughts of attempting suicide has remained relatively stable since SAMHSA began tracking such information in 2008, the rates for completed suicide remain high, up 27% since 2000.

Alcohol and illicit drug use have led to significantly higher levels of suicidal thoughts, making suicidal plans and making non-fatal suicide attempts, according to the SAMHSA study. Rates were also higher among adults who experienced a major depressive episode in the prior 12 months.

Of the adults who reported having suicidal thoughts in the previous year, less than half (49%) received mental health services.