A research letter published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics shows that adolescent suicide rates increased in the first year of the pandemic, according to research in 14 states.

Researchers from Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s hospital sifted through death certificates of 85,000 people that died by suicide in 14 states and compared 2020 suicide numbers to data from 2015 to 2019.

Suicide deaths increased during the first year of the pandemic in 6 states: Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Virginia and California. Meanwhile, the total count and the proportion of adolescent deaths by suicide went down in Montana, and the proportion in Alaska also decreased.  “The remaining six states examined were Arkansas, Connecticut, Nebraska, Ohio, Vermont and Colorado, and when data was aggregated across all 14 states, researchers found the overall increase in adolescent suicide rates.”

As Congress continues to work toward bipartisan mental health reform, it is clear that additional support is needed for youth mental health. “The pandemic has highlighted the need to overhaul or at least increase investment in youth mental health but also rethink how we’re currently doing things,” said Regina Miranda, a psychology professor at the City University of New York’s Hunter College.