This article discusses suicide. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
The homicide rate for older American teenagers rose to its highest point in nearly 25 years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the suicide rate for adults in their early 20s was the worst in more than 50 years, a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed. The CDC report examined the homicide and suicide rates among 10-to-24-year-olds from 2001 to 2021.
According to the CDC data, suicides among young people remained stable from 2001 to 2007 but then increased by an alarming 62 percent between 2007 and 2021. In 2007, the suicide rate for people ages 10 to 24 was 6.8 per 100,000. That reached 11 deaths per 100,000 in 2021.
Researchers found that suicide and homicide rates for older teens and young adults were far higher than for teens in the 10–14 age group.
- For people aged 10–14, the suicide rate tripled from 2007 through 2018 (from 0.9 to 2.9), and then did not change significantly through 2021, while the homicide rate doubled from 2016 through 2021.
- For people aged 15–19, the suicide rate increased from 2009 through 2017, and the homicide rate decreased from 2006 through 2013 but then increased through 2021, surpassing the suicide rate in 2020.
- For people aged 20–24, the suicide rate increased over the entire period, while the homicide rate increased from 2014 through 2020 and remained unchanged in 2021.
“In 2021, suicide and homicide were the second and third leading causes of death, respectively, for people aged 10–24,” the CDC reported. “After a period with no significant change in trends from 2001 through 2006–2007, suicide rates for people aged 10–24 increased through 2021, and homicide rates declined through 2014 and then increased through 2021… In 2021, the suicide rate was higher than the homicide rate for people aged 10–14 and 20–24, while the homicide rate was higher for people aged 15–19.”
The new CDC data are yet another indication that America’s teenagers and young adults are experiencing a severe mental health crisis.
The CDC’s recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that “mental health among students overall continues to worsen, with more than 40 percent of high school students feeling so sad or hopeless that they could not engage in their regular activities for at least two weeks during the previous year—a possible indication of the experience of depressive symptoms.”
Two years earlier, the Surgeon General warned that “far too many young people are struggling with their mental health and unable to get the support they need.”
Without that support, many teenagers who struggle with mental health issues will attempt to alleviate their emotional pain by misusing psychoactive substances such as alcohol, cannabis, depressants, and stimulants. Avanti Behavioral Health recently launched an intensive outpatient program (IOP) for clients between the ages of 13 and 18 in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Our mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic, family-centered, and trauma-informed care for teens with substance use disorder. We want to help each client find their version of what is known as “dynamic recovery.”
Dynamic recovery for teenagers can be defined as a positive approach to staying sober that involves finding enjoyment and fulfillment in life without the use of drugs or alcohol. It’s an approach that is focused on personal growth, self-improvement, and the pursuit of new interests and passions.
If your teen needs help, do not delay seeking treatment. For more information about our IOP and family programming call us at (720) 753-4030.