The suicide rate in the United States has jumped 24 percent in the past 15 years, including a troublesome spike among girls aged 10-14, according to US government statistics out Friday.
The rate increased by about one percent a year from 1999, then accelerated to two percent annually from 2006 to 2014, said the findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
The rise was seen among both males and females and for all ages 10–74, said the report.
The biggest jump was among girls aged 10–14, whose suicide rate tripled from 0.5 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 1.5 per 100,000 in 2014.
A total of 150 girls in this age group killed themselves in 2014, a 200 percent increase over 1999, the report said.
"We are seeing younger and younger kids dying by suicide," said Victor Fornari, director of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York.
This is "really a worry," added Fornari, who was not involved in the study.
"I think it may be a reflection of access to social media, Internet and cyber bullying, and youth are hurried. They are being exposed to things sooner than they would have been," he told AFP.
Suicide rates among boys aged 10–14 were higher than in girls, but they did not experience the same spike over the course of 15 years.
In 1999, 1.9 per 100,000 people in this age group committed suicide, and by 2014 the number had risen to 2.6 per 100,000, a 37 percent increase.
Among men, those over age 75 were most likely to kill themselves in both 1999 and 2014.
However, in contrast to other age groups, elderly men's suicide rate decreased by eight percent over the 15 years studied, going from 42.4 per 100,000 in 1999 to 38.8 in 2014, the report said.