Questions for Lead Author Sally Curtin, Health Statistician, of “Death Rates Due to Suicide and Homicide Among Persons Aged 10–24: United States, 2000–2017.”
Q: Why did you decide to focus on ages 10 through 24 for suicides and homicides?
SC: Suicide and homicide are among the leading causes of death for this age range. As there are almost no suicides below the age of 10, we began with age 10 and decided to go through the young adults age range, through age 24.
Q: How did the data vary by age groups?
SC: For the 10-24 age range, rates of both suicide and homicide are lowest for 10-14, intermediate for 15-19 and highest for 20-24. The patterns differed between age groups. For children and adolescents aged 10-14, suicide rates nearly tripled from 2007 to 2017 whereas homicide rates gradually declined over the period. For 15-19 and 20-24, both suicide and homicide rates increased, with the increase beginning earlier for the suicide rates.
Q: Is this the first time you have published a report on this topic?
SC: We have published some similar reports recently, but this is the first one which focuses on these two causes of death for this age range. Suicide and homicide are often referred to as the two major components of violent death.
Q: Was there a specific finding in your report that surprised you?
SC: That both suicide and homicide have increased recently for 15-19 and 20-24 year olds. Homicide has only been increasing since 2014, but this is after years of decline whereas suicide began to increase sooner.
Q: Why do you think suicide and homicide death rates have risen?
SC: That is for others in the prevention and research community to answer. However, other studies have shown that some of the risk factors for suicide and homicide have increased. In particular, depression and other mental health disorders have been shown to be increasing in youth.