There’s an epidemic in America killing our young people more profound then drugs, auto accidents, firearms and drowning, that those within congress, the White House and within the mainstream media have been ignoring for well over 10-years.
Childhood suicides for youngsters between the ages of 10 to 14 according to new data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have tripled between the years 2007 to 2017, after years of decline.
Moreover, the overall suicide rate among young people ages 10 to 24 has increased by 56% in just under 10 years.
Those startling figures, however, pale in comparison for teens between the ages of 15 to 19, recording a 76% increase in suicides for that same period.
The data also confirms that between the years 2007 through 2013 the suicide rate among this age group stood at 3% per year, however between the years 2013 to 2017 that number increased by 4%, peeking in 2017 to 7% a year.
Even more astounding death by suicide for individuals aged 10 to 24 was the second-leading cause of death in 2017, yet the figures regarding children committing suicide is seldom highlighted within medical journals and within childhood studies.
A recent study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in December of 2018, titled “The 10 leading causes of death for US children,” emphasized within their study that car crashes and firearms are leading causes of death among US children.
That banner headline was followed by a list of the top 10 causes of death which included; chronic lower respiratory disease, fire or burns, heart disease, congenital anomalies, drug overdose/poisoning, drowning and suffocation, malignant neoplasm, firearm-related injury, and motor vehicle crash.
I’m obviously not disputing the study, only the lack of urgency among many healthcare providers regarding this growing epidemic of children taking their own lives.
Since 2014, millennials 23 to 38 years of age have seen a 47% increase in individuals being diagnosed as being clinically mentally depressed. “Deaths of despair,” of dying from suicide, alcohol, and drugs, increased in the millennial population in the last 10 years, and they are more likely to report feeling lonely than other generations.
However, according to the Pew Research Center as shocking as those figures are “Generation Z”, individuals born during 1997 and onward, might be seeing a mental health crisis even worse than that faced by the older millennial generation.
In 2017, 13% of teens reported having experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year. In 2007, when more millennials were teens, that number was just 8%.
Pew’s research uncovered what many health professionals have long surmised regarding an increase in mental illness among this new generation which is considered the first truly “digital generation.”
Teens between 13 to 17 years of age by a margin of almost 45% acknowledged they use the internet “almost constantly.”
The study found over-use of social media can cause loneliness, depression, and anxiety, especially among this group.
“I feel like we have too much of a reliance on technology,” Jess Gallo 19, said. “And we don’t really appreciate the value of books or interpersonal communication.”
Dr. Wun Jung Kim, a child psychiatrist, and professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University explains the challenge facing our society today concerning treatment, intervention and the lack of awareness many parents and grandparents have about how to help a child in crisis along with the lack of specialists available.
Dr. Kim lamented, “The lack of access to psychiatric care has been a problem for a long time, and it’s not improving because of the increasing demand for care of our nation’s youth.
Adding, “We have a lousy system of care.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free 24/7 confidential support system for people in emotional distress. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, “PLEASE CALL THEM” at 800-273-8255.