In 2014, 384 US kids aged 10 to 14 died in car accidents. That same year, 425 US kids of the same age range died of suicide. The stat, released by the CDC Thursday, is "really surprising," an expert who analyzed the data tells the New York Times. "We think of traffic accidents as so commonplace." But they're becoming less common, while suicide is becoming more so: Back in 1999, adolescents in that age range were four times more likely to die in a traffic accident than to die by their own hand. By 2014, the number of car accident deaths had been halved, but the number of suicides had almost doubled.
One potential reason behind the increase in the suicide rate: social media. Where before just a handful of classmates may have been privy to an embarrassing moment, for example, now the news might quickly spread through an entire school—and beyond. There's also the fact that girls are hitting puberty earlier now than they did historically, and experts say they may be too young to handle the issues of sex, gender identity, and more that come along with that change. And, an expert tells WTVR, younger kids are more likely to commit self-harm impulsively. "Many people look for signs of depression" as a warning sign of suicide, she says. "Teens (who attempt suicide) typically show mood swings and depression, but younger children are much more likely to suffer from (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)."