In 2021, suicide and homicide rates for children and young adults ages 10 to 24 in the US were the highest they’ve been in decades, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide and homicide were the second and third leading causes of death for this age group, both causing about 11 deaths for every 100,000 people ages 10 to 24. The homicide rate for this age group in 2021 was the highest it’s been since 1997, and the suicide rate was the highest on record, since 1968.
Suicide rates surpassed homicide rates for this age group in 2010 and have continued rising for the past decade. But a large spike in homicide rates during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic brought the rates for both types of violent death together for the first time in a decade.
For children ages 10 to 14, however, a large gap remained. The suicide rate in 2021 was twice as high as the homicide rate, according to the CDC report.
Earlier research has found that there has been a steady increase in the number of children who are seen in emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, and nearly half don’t get the follow-up care they need.
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Another CDC report said that the rate of suspected suicides and suicide attempts by poisoning among young surged during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially among children ages 10 to 12, with a 70% increase from 2019 to 2021.
For teens ages 15 to 19, the homicide rate remained higher than the suicide rate, according to the new report.
Last year, a study reported that firearms were the most common weapon used in children’s deaths and Black boys were killed more than any other group.
In 2020, guns surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for children and teens, a CNN analysis found. Firearms accounted for nearly 1 in 5 childhood deaths in 2021.