Suicide trends among persons aged 10-24 years--United States, 1994-2012

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Mar 6;64(8):201-5.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10-24 years in the United States and accounted for 5,178 deaths in this age group in 2012. Firearm, suffocation (including hanging), and poisoning (including drug overdose) are the three most common mechanisms of suicide in the United States. Previous reports have noted that trends in suicide rates vary by mechanism and by age group in the United States, with increasing rates of suffocation suicides among young persons. To test whether this increase is continuing and to determine whether it varies by demographic subgroups among persons aged 10-24 years, CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System mortality data for the period 1994-2012. Trends in suicide rates were examined by sex, age group, race/ethnicity, region of residence, and mechanism of suicide. Results of the analysis indicated that, during 1994-2012, suicide rates by suffocation increased, on average, by 6.7% and 2.2% annually for females and males, respectively. Increases in suffocation suicide rates occurred across demographic and geographic subgroups during this period. Clinicians, hotline staff and others who work with young persons need to be aware of current trends in suffocation suicides in this group so that they can accurately assess risk and educate families. Media coverage of suicide incidents and clusters should follow established guidelines to avoid exacerbating risk for "suicide contagion" among vulnerable young persons.* Suicide contagion is a process by which exposure to the suicide or suicidal behavior of one or more persons influences others who are already vulnerable and thinking about suicide to attempt or die by suicide. Early prevention strategies are needed to reduce the likelihood of young persons developing suicidal thoughts and behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asphyxia / epidemiology
  • Cause of Death / trends
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Distribution
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / trends*
  • United States
  • Wounds, Gunshot / epidemiology
  • Young Adult