Suicide among teen girls between the ages of 15 and 19 has hit a 40-year high, according to new data released by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Male teens, by comparison, experienced an increase in suicides from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
Academic pressure, cyberbullying and undiagnosed mental disorders could offer a partial explanation of why a young person might consider or attempt suicide, according to experts. This is especially true of young people who are gay, trans or questioning.
"At times, 11-year-olds and 12-year-olds say … 'If I don’t get straight A’s in seventh grade, I’m not going to get into AP courses in ninth grade … and I’m not going to get into a good college. If I don’t get into a good college, I’m going to be homeless,'" Dr. Tami Benton, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told NBC10 earlier this year for the groundbreaking series Preventing Suicide: Breaking the Silence.
In 2015, the latest data available, more than 44,000 people took their own lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34. More than one million people attempt suicide every year.
Men are more likely to die by suicide, but women are more likely to attempt it, the CDC reported. The disparity comes down to method: men gravitate towards suicide by firearms and hanging while women turn to overdosing on medication. The latter has a higher chance of reversal with timely medical attention.
Recently, researchers from San Diego State University found that for almost three weeks after Netflix show "13 Reasons Why" debuted, there was an uptick in Google searches involving the word "suicide." Searches included methods, hotlines and prevention. The show depicts the suicide of a teen girl and her blaming specific people for it.
The study did not provide a definitive link between actual suicides and the Netflix series.
The new data comes on the heels of the sentencing of Michelle Carter, who was 17 when she urged her 18-year-old boyfriend to kill himself. Conrad Roy Jr. died by intentional carbon monoxide poisoning in 2014.
If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741.