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Suicide on the Rise, Especially Among Young People

October 26, 2018

While we have gotten better at treating cancer and heart disease, that is not the case with suicide. Suicides are on the rise, especially among young people.

Overall, suicides remain a leading cause of death in the U.S., with approximately 45,000 people per year dying of suicide.  According to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • This is double the amount of homicides
  • More than the number of breast cancer deaths
  • Higher than the number of traffic fatalities

Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network Physician-in-Chief John Santopietro, MD, speaking at Natchaug Hospital’s annual reception on Tuesday, Oct. 23, said what is even more disconcerting is how the number of suicides are growing among children, teens and young adults.

According to the CDC:

  • In the age group of 10-14, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death.
  • In the age bracket of 15-24 the number two cause of death is suicide, after unintentional injury.
  • Suicide remains the number two cause of death for people ages 25-34, then begins to decline after that as people are impacted by other diseases.

Potential reasons for the increase in suicides among younger age groups are bullying, the rise of video games, hand-held technology, pro-suicide messages on the Intranet, stigma and discrimination, lack of treatment for depression and other factors, several recent studies have said.

Dr. Santopietro said getting people into treatment early for mental health issues is a key.

“If we get people into treatment at the right time, at the right place, and we give them great treatment, then 60-80 percent recover,” said Dr. Santopietro, who added that the ongoing Zero Suicide initiative at Natchaug and across the Behavioral Health Network will also help. The initiative includes policies and protocols for when patients are hospitalized and when they are back in the community.”

Learn more here about the services available at Natchaug Hospital