According to the study, suicides have more than doubled between 2008 and 2018 among U.S. adolescents. These increasing trends in suicide deaths were similar by gender or race in this age group in urban and rural areas; although in rural areas, where there is easier access to guns, they were more frequent.
Suicides were committed "most frequently between the months of September and May and were most frequent on Mondays, followed by the rest of the week." The study suggests that school stress contributes to suicidal ideation among adolescents.
In rural areas, firearms were used in 46.7% of youth suicides, while in metropolitan areas they were used in 34.7%.
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"Our data show that non-metropolitan areas have higher rates of teen suicide, regardless of method, and rural areas have higher rates due to firearms," said Professor Charles H.Hennekens, one of the study's authors.
According to Hennekens, "during the years immediately preceding the onset of the increase in suicide rates among 13- to 14-year-olds, several social networking platforms used by teens were launched."
Among the most used by teens were, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Tumblr, said the professor noting that in 2018, Instagram and Snapchat surpassed all but YouTube.
Lead author Sarah K. Wood, a professor of pediatrics at FAU said in a statement that while the study data point to a temporal correlation between social media use, school stress and firearms, "further analytic studies are needed."