Teen Suicide Declines in 2005

Teen Suicide Declines in 2005

January 24, 2008

Temporary 2004 increase clearly not linked to anti-depressant warnings

Just-released Centers for Disease Control figures for 2005 showing a drop in teen suicide are casting strong doubts on widespread alarms that a temporary rise in suicide by teenage girls in 2004 was caused by government warnings that curbed use of antidepressant medication.

In fact, population-adjusted suicide rates for girls ages 10-14 dropped by 29%, and for girls ages 15-19, by 14%, in 2005, the first full year in which anti-depressant medications were required to carry labels warning of possible adverse effects (ironically, including suicide) on young people prescribed them.

Since warning label restrictions did not take effect until October, 2004, the effect of any anti-depressant decline on teen suicide that year would have been doubtful in any case. Nevertheless, many press reports and commentators, often citing pharmaceutical industry sources, held that fewer teens using antidepressant drugs must have caused the 2004 suicide rise.

Suicide rates rose slightly for boys ages 10-14 and fell for boys ages 15-19 in 2005. Due to teenagers’ very low rates of suicide (particularly for girls), year-to-year fluctuations normal to small numbers are routine, even though they often generate considerable media and interest-group sensation.

Overall, suicide rate changes from 2004 to 2005 were: age 10-14 (down 4%), ages 15-19 (down 7%), and ages 20-24 (down 1%). Suicide rates rose moderately among adults ages 55 and older.

The government’s newly released figures for mortality in 2005 are available in detail at:http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

1999 – 2005, United States
Suicide Injury Deaths and Rates per 100,000
All Races, Both Sexes, Ages 10 to 19
ICD-10 Codes: X60-X84, Y87.0,*U03

Age Group Sex Year Number of
Deaths
Population*** Crude
Rate
10-14 Males 1999 192 10,357,700 1.85
2000 238 10,520,197 2.26
2001 207 10,705,669 1.93
2002 196 10,818,003 1.81
2003 188 10,866,423 1.73
2004 185 10,829,786 1.71
2005 202 10,692,773 1.89
1,408 74,790,551 1.88
Females 1999 50 9,855,665 0.51
2000 62 10,007,875 0.62
2001 65 10,192,699 0.64
2002 64 10,302,915 0.62
2003 56 10,345,692 0.54
2004 98 10,312,888 0.95
2005 68 10,185,970 0.67
463 71,203,704 0.65
15-19 Males 1999 1,347 10,323,033 13.05
2000 1,351 10,391,004 13.00
2001 1,345 10,461,038 12.86
2002 1,280 10,487,870 12.20
2003 1,222 10,526,491 11.61
2004 1,345 10,639,641 12.64
2005 1,303 10,803,526 12.06
9,193 73,632,603 12.48
Females 1999 268 9,761,569 2.75
2000 270 9,828,886 2.75
2001 266 9,856,289 2.70
2002 233 9,895,893 2.35
2003 265 9,970,190 2.66
2004 355 10,097,114 3.52
2005 310 10,259,596 3.02
1,967 69,669,537 2.82
Total 13,031 289,296,395 4.50