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The least you need to know about new CDC suicide data

April 22, 2016
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) this week released the report “Increase in Suicide in the United States, 1999–2014,” in which researchers compared suicide data among age groups and genders.

What’s the key takeaway?

After several years of consistent decline in suicide rates, the 1999 to 2014 timeframe shows an increase of 24%. When expressed as suicides per 100,000 people, the rate moved from 10.5 per 100,000 to 13.0 per 100,000. What’s concerning is that the data from the later portion of the study period shows more increase, indicating that the trend is accelerating over time.

Why have suicides increased?

CDC does not report the reason, however, NPR reported that there is a possibility that black-box warnings on antidepressant drugs might be causing physicians to be reluctant to prescribe them. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Which populations show the highest increase?

The greatest jump by percentage was among girls aged 10 to 14—a 200% increase. Overall, male populations generally show a higher rate of suicide, at 20.7 per 100,000 people, compared to female populations at 5.8 per 100,000 in 2014.

Are the individuals using guns?

CDC reports that the male populations most frequently use firearms (55.4%), while the female populations most frequently use poison (34.1%).

What is CDC doing about it?

CDC has conducted more in-depth study in areas of particularly high suicide rates, just at it would for a high rate of influenza in one town, for example. In November 2014, the CDC researched Fairfax, Va., and found multiple risk factors possibly contributing to a jump in suicide rates of teenagers there, including high expectations for students, parental pressure and parental denial of mental health concerns. Earlier this year, researchers did a similar study in Palo Alto, Calif., where six teens committed suicide in nine months.


Julie Miller

Editor in Chief

Julie Miller


Julie Miller has more than 14 years of experience observing, analyzing and reporting on various...

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