Girls suicide rates gain on boys, especially for ages 10-14 | News Coverage from USA

Girls suicide rates gain on boys, especially for ages 10-14

Ohio researchers already knew that girls are killing themselves more than ever before.

Two recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that suicides rates for girls ages 10-14 tripled compared with other age groups from 1999 to 2014, and that suicide rates for females ages 15-19 more than doubled from 2007 to 2015.

What they thought was important for their study, released today, was to see if the gap was narrowing between female and male youth suicide rates. That would mean girls, whose rates of thinking and attempting suicide are higher than boys, are completing suicide more frequently. More boys than girls commit suicide.

The gap has narrowed, and that disturbed researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Girls may need special care

“This is important information. Because we’re seeing, ‘OK, the narrowing of the gap is real,’ ” said Donna Ruch, lead researcher of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “What happens next is in terms of suicide prevention. We need to find out how we address girls differently and what might be behind our findings.”

Among the findings: 

  • After declining between 1991 and 2007, suicide rates for girls are showing large increases, narrowing the gap between the sexes. 
  • From 2007-16, the suicide rate for girls 10-14 grew by 12.7% a year, compared with a 7.1% per year increase for boys. For girls 15-19, suicide rates jumped 7.9% a year versus 3.5% for boys.
  • From 1975 to 2016, 85,051 young people committed suicide in the U.S.: 68,085 boys (80%) and 16,966 girls (20%).

Ruch said the data also show the number of female suicides by hanging or suffocation approached those of males. 

“And again, wow, that is a shift,” Ruch said. “If you already start with a baseline that females are thinking about suicide more and attempting suicide more, and now we know that they are attempting it through more lethal means? You know we have a very serious issue we’re dealing with.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) at any time day or night or chat online at 


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