What The Numbers Say About Teen Girls & Suicide

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
More teenage girls died by suicide in 2015 than in the 40 years before, new data from the National Center for Health Statistics has found.
The statistics look at girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who died by suicide between 1975 and 2015. Particularly alarming, the researchers say, is that the suicide death rate more than doubled between 2007 and 2015.
In 1975, 2.9 per every 100,000 teenage girls died by suicide. That number rose to 3.7 per 100,000 in 1990, lowered to 2.4 per 100,000 in 2007 and then spiked to 5.1 per 100,000 in 2015. The numbers of girls who died are still much lower than the number of boys who die by suicide, according to the data, though those numbers have risen over time as well.
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The number of boys who died by suicide rose from 12 per every 100,000 in 1975 to 18.1 per 100,000 in 1990, and lowered to 10.8 per 100,000 by 2007 and then increased again to 14.2 per 100,000 by 2015.
This is a bit of a paradox, researchers say, because other studies have shown that girls attempt suicide more often than boys, and are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Still, boys and men make up almost 78% of all suicide deaths, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The discrepancy, experts believe, is likely due to the means of suicide girls choose as opposed to ones boys choose. Men more often resort to shooting or hanging, while women often choose drug overdose, and therefore have a better chance of survival.
Researchers aren't sure what caused the spike in suicide deaths in 2015, the study says, but experts told CNN that it could be a combination of many things.
"Some of the opiate or heroin overdoses in adolescents may be interpreted by emergency departments as suicides," Carl Tishler, an adjunct associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at The Ohio State University, told CNN.
One thing is clear, young people may need more support now more than ever.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
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