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April 12, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Hard Data Shows Suicide on Rise for Teens

A brand new study out of Harvard shows that suicide's on the rise among teens. While hard data can't explain why, certain behaviors may provide clues.

It happens too frequently now, leaving everyone at a loss. Suicide among teens. And while Dr. Thomas Simon of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, "We don't have good explanations for why we're seeing this increase," everyone knows they have to look harder.    
    According to the CDC, 5,504 people ages 10 to 24 died by suicide in 2014. Just published in The Boston Globe, are findings from Harvard University that suicide is soaring among teens: From 2000 to 2017, the suicide rate rose by 47 perent among teens ages 15 to 19 and 36 percent among those 20 to 24. This is well above the 30 percent increase seen across all age groups.
    The figure has risen steadily for this age group since 2010. Experts admit it's not clear what's causing the rise — the data can't tell that story. Cyberbullying? In-person bullying? Social media? A lack of connectedness with others?     "Almost all kids who are bullied have some vulnerability that led them to be targets of bullies," says Maureen Underwood, clinical director for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide.

Warning Signs

    The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network's Williamson County chapter lists warning signs and risk factors posted on their website, yet many adults are not privy to warnings because teens are so skilled at hiding emotions. Something to look out for is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. There are many, many warning signs related to thoughts, feelings and behaviors, all listed at TSPN's website. If a teen TALKS about the following, a warning flag should go up and you should take it seriously: • Being a burden to others • Feeling trapped • Experiencing unbearable pain • Having no reason to live • Killing themselves. People who are CONSIDERING SUICIDE often display one or more of the following moods: • Depression • Loss of interest • Rage • Irritability • Humiliation • Anxiety

About the Author

Susan Swindell Day, Editor

Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.