The suicide rates among U.S. middle school students doubled in just seven years, becoming bigger than the number of children between the ages of 10 and 14 who died as a result of car crashes, according to a federal report released on Nov. 3.
The suicide rate among this population increased from 0.9 to 2.1 per 100,000 children from 2007 to 2014, while the traffic deaths have declined to 1.9, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The car crash mortality rate is only available until 2014, and it consistently decreased by 60 percent since 1999, the year when the U.S. government monitored these figures for the first time. In absolute numbers, there were 425 children who took their own lives in 2014 alone, as opposed to the number of deaths caused by car accidents, a recorded number of 384, according to the CDC.
While the leading cause of deaths among children still consists of accidents of all kinds, accounting for 750 reported fatal accidents in 2014 within the age group, the fact remains that, back in 1999, there were four times more deaths caused by car crashes than by suicide.
The data suggests that the situation of automobile accidents has improved, while the suicide rates among middle school children has increased dramatically.
"Any rise (in youth suicides) should be of concern, there's no doubt. In time we might uncover some reasons, but a cautionary note [is] not to rush to any conclusions from this," Mark Kaplan, professor of social welfare at the University of California in Los Angeles, told Fox News.
According to the same source, the array of reasons that lead children to such extreme behavior is complex. This makes them complicated to understand, analyze, explain or act upon.
The mortality rate as a result of traffic accidents has steadily decreased. However, the situation was easier to combat, especially because of new and improved cars as well as the awareness campaigns carried out in order to convince people to drive more carefully. Having better tires, airbags and more accident-proof cars in general is one of the most important contributing factors to the drop in mortality among this age group.
However, when it comes to children's safety, their psychological experiences and traumas, and their perception of failure, it's harder to intervene because of the subjectivity of the human factor, which makes these data extremely sensitive to deal with.
Suicides have occurred in many different forms, including epidemics, such as the one in Palo Alto, where from 2009 to 2015 10 children committed suicide.