September 23, 2023

Analysis Spotlight

Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people in the United States. Rates of youth suicide deaths were rising before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, so it is critical to understand how the pandemic impacted this public health crisis. In a new study supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers examined national youth suicide trends and characteristics in the United States before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A research team led by Jeffrey Bridge, Ph.D., Donna Ruch, Ph.D., and Lisa Horowitz, Ph.D., MPH, analyzed nationwide suicide knowledge from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. The researchers first recognized all U.S. youth aged 5 to 24 years with suicide listed as the reason for loss of life over the primary 10 months of the pandemic (March 1, 2020–December 31, 2020). They calculated the entire and month-to-month suicide deaths general and by intercourse, age, race and ethnicity, and suicide technique. Then, they examined what number of younger folks died by suicide throughout the first 10 months of the pandemic and in contrast it to an estimated variety of suicide deaths throughout that very same interval had the pandemic not occurred (calculated utilizing knowledge from the earlier 5 years).

The researchers recognized 5,568 youth who died by suicide throughout the first 10 months of the pandemic, which was larger than the anticipated variety of deaths had the pandemic not occurred. Larger than anticipated suicide charges had been discovered a number of months into the pandemic, beginning in July 2020.

The rise in suicide deaths different considerably by intercourse, age, race and ethnicity, and suicide technique. In the course of the pandemic, there have been larger than anticipated suicide deaths amongst males, preteens aged 5–12 years, younger adults aged 18–24 years, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Native youth, and non-Hispanic Black youth as in comparison with earlier than the pandemic. Suicide deaths involving firearms had been additionally larger than anticipated.

The considerably larger variety of suicide deaths reported for sure racial and ethnic teams, particularly non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Native and non-Hispanic Black youth, highlights ongoing disparities in charges of suicide that the pandemic could have exacerbated. The rise in suicide deaths amongst preteens additionally means that extra consideration could must be paid to this age group, who are usually understudied in suicide prevention analysis and have totally different developmental wants than older adolescents and younger adults.

This analysis is simply a primary step in analyzing the pandemic’s impression on youth psychological well being and factors to a number of areas for additional investigation. First, it’s doable that different occasions or elements unrelated to the pandemic that occurred throughout the research’s timeframe contributed to the rise in youth suicide deaths however had been unmeasured. Second, analysis continues to be wanted to establish the underlying causes of the rise in youth suicide deaths, each general and for particular teams. Third, the COVID-19 pandemic interval analyzed on this research was restricted to 10 months in 2020 and doesn’t replicate longer-term traits in youth suicide that will have modified because the pandemic wore on. Final, suicide deaths for some teams could have been underreported resulting from inaccurate or misclassified knowledge; ongoing monitoring of suicide charges will assist make clear the suicide threat confronted by younger folks in america.

This research exhibits that the pandemic impacted youth suicide charges, however the impression was not the identical for everybody and different based mostly on intercourse, age, and race and ethnicity. As such, the authors recommend that it could be useful to broadly implement suicide prevention efforts in settings that serve younger folks, whereas additionally tailoring these efforts to handle the disparities confronted by particular teams. Furthermore, given the prolonged length of the pandemic and its ongoing impression on younger folks in america, it is going to be essential to observe long-term traits in suicide charges related to COVID-19 and establish elements driving the elevated threat for suicide amongst some folks.


Bridge, J. A., Ruch, D. A., Sheftall, A. H., Hahm, H. C., O’Keefe, V. M., Fontanella, C. A., Brock, G., Campo, J. V., & Horowitz, L. M. (2023). Youth suicide throughout the first 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pediatrics, 151(3), Article e2022058375.