Suicide is Gen Z's second-leading cause of death, and it's a worse epidemic than anything millennials faced at that age
- The suicide rate for people aged 10 to 24 increased by 56% between 2007 to 2017, according to new data from the CDC.
- For children aged 10 to 14, the suicide rate tripled between 2007 to 2017 after years of decline.
- Suicide had increased among millennials, but the data suggests Gen Z might be most at risk for mental illness.
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Young people are dying from suicide at record rates.
The suicide rate among people aged 10 to 24 increased 56% between 2007 and 2017, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The annual rate at which young people were dying by suicide had also increased within the last 10 years. Between 2007 and 2013, suicide rate for young people was at 3% per year; between 2013 to 2017, that number shot up to 7% per year.
For children aged 10 to 14, the suicide rate tripled between 2007 to 2017 after years of decline. For teens between 15 and 19, the rate increased by 76% in that same time period.
Suicide was the second-leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 24 in 2017.
Why Gen Zers might be facing a mental health crisis even worse than millennials did
The new data suggests Gen Z - or the generation of Americans born during 1997 onward - might be seeing a mental health crisis even worse than that faced by the older millennial generation.
Since 2014, millennials (or people who turned 23 to 38 in 2019) have seen a 47% increase in major-depression diagnoses. "Deaths of despair," or 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.
For Gen Z, the mental illness crisis continues. In 2017, 13% of teens reported having experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, Pew Research Center reported. In 2007, when more millennials were teens, that number was just 8%.
Social media might be fueling the increase in mental illness, as Gen Z is the first truly digital generation. Pew Research Center found 45% of teens aged 13 to 17 said they use the internet "almost constantly." Over-use of social media can cause loneliness, depression, and anxiety, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported.
Gen Z teenagers told Business Insider the constant social-media use was driving a longing for interpersonal connection.
"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."
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, there's help for you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.