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Suicide Rates in Teens Increased During the Pandemic

girl in sweater by window considering suicide rates in teens

A new study has uncovered a possible link between suicide rates in teens and COVID-related grief. According to the CDC, more than 140,000 U.S. children lost primary or secondary caregivers because of the pandemic between April 2020 to June 2021.1 If your teen is struggling with trauma from the pandemic or a loss that has occurred during COVID, our treatment programs can help them heal and recover. Contact us online or call 888.291.2309 today.

The Rising Rate of Suicide in Teens

The suicide rate in teens could be rising not only because teens have experienced tragic loss and unmanageable grief during the pandemic but because of the stress and anxiety that has been ever present in their homes. In fact, the CDC has found that more than half of American teens in high school experienced insults and other forms of emotional abuse from parents or other adults in their homes during the pandemic.2 This horrifying statistic simply drives home the sad reality that families were under extreme stress during lockdown as a result of job loss and fear of illness.

The Reasons Why Teens Attempt Suicide

The pandemic impacted everyone, but the toll it took on teens and other adolescent children was especially unique. Social isolation, constant uncertainty, stress, fear, and uneven political response to a global crisis have plagued their young lives, all at a critical time when they are most vulnerable. Teenage emergency room visits for suicide attempts increased significantly during the pandemic. Additionally, the rate of suicide in teens in Texas, for example, was on the rise prior to the pandemic. However, most suicidal attempts are not fatal except when firearms are used.

Easy Access to Guns

During the pandemic, there was a significant rise in the sale of firearms, which is troubling for a number of reasons but most notably, when it comes to the rate of suicide in teens, is that the greatest risk factor of death by suicide is access to firearms in the house. More than 80% of teens who die by suicide using firearms use a gun belonging to a member of their family.

Bullying

Medical professionals are still trying to determine the reasons for the rise in the suicide rates in teens, but they can cite potential factors such as bullying. Bullying has long been problematic for children, but bullying online and on social media has increased not only the frequency but also how harsh the bullying is. This is because teens are being bullied now in a way that feels more permanent and often anonymous. Teens may even be goaded into suicidal behavior by their peers or by anonymous trolls online.

High Expectations

Pressures at home could also be contributing to the increase in teen suicides during the past few years of living with COVID. Some of the pressure that could be causing teens stress include:

  • Helping provide for their family
  • Getting better grades
  • General economic woes related to the pandemic within the household

One other reason we may be seeing a shocking rise in the rate of suicide in teens could be down simply to better reporting of suicide attempts. This does not mean there is not a problem that should be addressed with professional mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, but it is important to note that more accurate reporting could be behind the eye-popping suicide rates in teens today.

Help for Teen Mental Health at Imagine Fort Collins

The pandemic may have caused serious trauma for your teen. Because suicide rates in teens are rising, contact Imagine Fort Collins today using our secure online form or call us at 888.291.2309 to learn how a customized treatment program can help.

  1. CDC – The Hidden U.S. COVID-19 Pandemic: Orphaned Children – More than 140,000 U.S. Children Lost a Primary or Secondary Caregiver Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  2. CDC – Disruptions to School and Home Life Among High School Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey, United States, January–June 2021