Jun 18, 2019

Generation Z's suicide epidemic

The suicide rate for Americans aged 15 to 24 years old — the older half of Generation Z — is the highest it's been since at least 1999, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: The overall suicide rate for this age group has risen by 51% over the past decade. This has been accompanied by increased social media use, anxiety, depression and self-inflicted injuries among young adults and teens, according to a newly released study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

  • The closing gap: Young men still have significantly higher suicide rates than women of the same age, but over the last decade, suicide rates for women aged 15 to 24 have risen faster than for men.
  • Suicide rates for Gen Z men have risen 45% since 2007, compared to 87% for women.

Between the lines: The rise in suicide rates could be a result of more accurate reporting, with Americans more willing to label a death as suicide, according to the JAMA study. It could also be driven by changes in the use of opioids or the increased prevalence of depression in young people.

Go deeper: Deaths by suicide, drugs and alcohol reached an all-time high in 2017

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, in addition to prevention and crisis resources. Also available for online chat.

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