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Study Finds Alarming Changes in Suicide Rates

Rate of young girls killing themselves is climbing
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2019 3:30 PM CDT
For girls age 15 to 19, the suicide rate went up 7.9%, a new study has found.   (Getty/Moore Media)

(Newser) – Boys are still more likely to kill themselves than girls are, but a new study has found a change in the established patterns, CNN reports. Suicide rates among girls are climbing faster. An analysis of a database run by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that, starting in 2007, the suicide rate for girls age 10 to 14 rose 12.7% per year, compared with 7.1% for boys the same age. For those age 15 to 19, the rate went up 7.9% for girls and 3.5% for boys, said the study, published Friday in JAMA. Suicide is the No. 2 cause of death among those 10 to 19 years old, per the CDC, after accidents and unintentional injuries. Rates of suicide have historically been higher for boys than girls across all age groups, and that remains the case now.

And boys age 15 to 19 still kill themselves with guns much more often than girls do. But girls employ hanging and suffocation in rates nearing those of boys. "What we’re seeing is alarming," says Donna Ruch, one of the study's authors, per Time. "On top of the fact that females are thinking about suicide more and attempting suicide more, now they're actually completing suicide." The reasons aren't clear, but the findings illustrate the need for gender-specific suicide prevention strategies, Ruch says. An accompanying editorial also questions whether the rise of social media is playing a role, reports Bloomberg. (Read more public health stories.)

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