Researchers at the CDC's National Center for Health
Statistics weren't able to figure out what exactly triggered this rise in suicides, but the study shows an increase in a number of racial and ethnic
demographic groups, making it even harder to determine prevention.
"The increase is broad-based," Sally C. Curtin, a statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and lead author of the new report said. "If it were just one particular group, you could say 'that is where we need to focus.'"
According to the study, American-Indian and Alaskan communities have experienced the highest increases in suicide rate since 1999. In this particular group the suicide rate increased 38 percent among men and 89 percent among women. There was also an increase in suicide rates among white women by 60 percent and white men by 28 percent. Black men were the only group to experience a decline, with their suicide rate going by 8 percent between 1999 and 2014.
But one of the most noteworthy increases throughout the entire study was the rising increase in suicide rates in particular among young women. There was a 45 percent increase in women between 1999 and 2014, while the overall increase among men was only 16 percent.
Another interesting thing to note is that girls between the ages 10 to 14 experienced a 0.5 to 1.7 per 100,000 increase between 1999 and 2014. The numbers themselves aren't high, but what's concerning is the drastic rate increase. It more than tripled. We can't help but wonder what could have triggered that increase.
There are a number of things that can contribute to mental illness and suicide, so it's hard to pinpoint one thing. With that said, body-image issues and low-self esteem can trigger depression. And another recent study showed how social media negatively impacts women's self-esteem especially in regards to their bodies. In fact, a 2013 study from the University of Michigan found that constant use of Facebook was leading people to feelings of depression and loneliness. Social media trolls and body-shamers certainly don't help.
"With the prevalence of social media, girls are exposed to cyber-bullying at a young age. Often they hide their depression and resort to self-harm. The case of Amanda Todd is a perfect example," Sarah Fader, CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a nonprofit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories, told us. "Amanda was 15 when she committed suicide. She was maliciously bullied online as well in school. Despite her family's efforts to stop the abuse, she engaged in self-harm and eventually took her own life. She isn't the only young woman who has taken her life as a result of online bullying. There is an epidemic causing young women to engage in self-harm and suicidal behavior."
According to the American Psychological Association, women are two times more likely to experience depression than men. Depression can play a huge role in suicide rates increasing.
"Higher depression rates are an indication that these women in question are not receiving adequate mental health treatment," Fader says. "Whether that means getting into therapy or seeing a psychiatrist or a combination of the two, the women in question need treatment that they are not receiving."
With suicide being the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., something has to change. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 42,773 Americans die each year due to suicide and that's a lot.
"Young women need to be properly educated on the signs of depression at an early age," Fader adds. "They need to learn when it's time to reach out for help and tell a trusted adult. We can change the statistics if we are willing to listen to our girls."