Suicide rates among 15- to 24-year-olds reached a 17-year-high in 2017, according to an analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers found an especially pronounced increase among 15- to 19-year-olds and young men, according to the study.
Study authors, led by Oren Miron, a research associate at Harvard Medical School, analyzed data on U.S. deaths among 15- to 24-year-olds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They found that suicide rates among teens 15 to 19 spiked from eight per 100,000 people to 11.8 per 100,000 people from 2000 to 2017, and from 12.5 to 17 per 100,000 people among adults 20 to 24.
The research found 6,241 suicides involving 15- to 24-year-olds in 2017, 5,016 of them men or boys and 1,225 of them girls or women.
Miron and his team noted that the research assumed the reliability of death certificates and did not go into what contributing factors may have caused the increase.
"Future studies should examine possible contributing factors and attempt to develop prevention measures by understanding the causes for the decrease in suicides found in the late 1990s," they wrote.
The report “is unfortunately not a surprise," Nadine Kaslow, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine and chief psychologist at the Grady Health System in Atlanta, told CNN.
While previous research has indicated an increase in suicide rates among young people, the new study "adds a couple of points; one is noting this particular increase in young males and also in this younger age group of 15 to 19," added Kaslow, who was not involved in the research.
Kaslow noted that as anxiety and depression increase among young people, family and community structures may not be as close as in past generations, according to CNN.
The increased prevalence of technology, while not necessarily a root factor, may also have created increased risk of cyberbullying and the associated depression and suicidal thoughts, she added.