Suicide rates up among US teens
Suicide rates among the nation's youth continue to climb. Many experts fear the reason for this is due to fewer antidepressants being prescribed. After a fifteen-year decline the rates are climbing--what was seen as a possibly random increase in 2004 was repeated in 2005. The outcome of the study of 2004 and 2005 tracked outcomes based on actual instances from 1996 through 2003. After more than a decade of decline, suicide rates among those from 10-19 years of age skyrocketed by 18% in 2004, the largest increase in a one-year time period over fifteen years. Researcher Jeff Bridge feels, based on this study, that we could be on the verge of a public health crisis.
Bridges sites possible reasons for the increase, including online and social networking as well as returning from deployment overseas in Iraq along with the controversy over giving youth antidepressants. In a 2003 a public health advisory was issued noting children who were prescribed SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, were more likely to attempt suicide or engage in suicidal behavior. The result was the black box information on such medicines as well as doctors being less confident in prescribing them. In another study, however, Bridge noted that such treatment could be beneficial for children in the short-term.
According to Diana Zuckerman, National Research Center for Women & Families, children may be more likely to attempt suicide now due to the lagging economy, the stress of not having enough money for college and because those with depression go undiagnosed. She also noted a factor could be that families aren't spending enough time together.