Parents, teachers and lawmakers are grappling with the worst teen suicide rate in U.S. history, despite a spate of state laws and training programs designed to help.
By the numbers: The number of suicides from people ages 10 to 24 increased 56% fr0m 2007 to 2017, the fastest rate of any age group, a new CDC report shows. Suicides are disproportionately affecting people of color and those in the LGBTQ community.
Teachers in some school districts are scouring Google for mental health advice because they don’t know how to help their students, Sam Brinton, head of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, tells Axios.
Intervention and prevention plans are either mandatory or strongly encouraged in 42 states, but there are still pleas for more inclusive programming.
- The number of black teens attempting suicide surged 73% since 2007, the CDC notes.
- Out of the 22 suicide-prevention laws passed in 2019, only Nevada’s specifically mentions LGBT youth. This group is 5 times more at risk of suicide than their straight peers, according to the Trevor Project, a crisis and suicide prevention center LGBTQ youth.
- Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among teenagers and young adults, overtaking homicides and outpaced only by accidents.
The bottom line: “If you had kids suddenly dying at these rates from a new disease or infection, there would be a huge outcry. But most people don’t even know this is happening,” Lisa Horowitz, a pediatric psychologist at the National Institute of Health told the Washington Post.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that a separate study found the rise in black teen suicide attempts (not the one by the CDC).