WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2007-Following a decline of more than 28 percent, the suicide rate for 10- to-24-year-olds increased by 8 percent, the largest single-year rise in 15 years, according to a report released today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

The decline took place from 1990 to 2003 (from 9.48 to 6.78 per 100,000 people), and the increase took place from 2003 to 2004, (from 6.78 to 7.32), the report said

“This is the biggest annual increase that we’ve seen in 15 years. We don’t yet know if this is a short-lived increase or if it’s the beginning of a trend,” said Dr. Ileana Arias, director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Either way, it’s a harsh reminder that suicide and suicide attempts are affecting too many youth and young adults. We need to make sure suicide prevention efforts are continuous and reaching children and young adults.”. . .

An increase in the suicide rates for three gender-age groups accounts for the increase in the overall suicide rate, the report said. Rates rose for 10- to-14-year-old females, 15 -to-19-year-old females and 15- to-19-year-old males from 2003 to 2004.

  • For 10- to-14-year-old females, the rate increased from 0.54 per 100,000 in 2003 to 0.95 per 100,000 in 2004
  • For 15-to-19 year-old females the rate increased from 2.66 to 3.52 per 100,000
  • For 15-to-19 year-old males, the rate increased from 11.61 to 12.65 per 100,000
  • Prior to 2003, the rates for all three groups were generally decreasing

19 years ago Pluto entered its own sign of Scorpio, so all of these kids were born under the sign of maximum emotional intensity. In Scorpio Pluto delves into death and destruction and seeks continual regeneration, which is a lot to ask of young people. In addition, many of these kids are the particularly sensitive children who were born under the Uranus/Neptune conjunction in Capricorn. Judging by the music they’re listening to, a lot of them are very angry as well as depressed.

Phil Brown, writing on the widening presence of skull logos, had this to say of this generation:

The Pluto in Scorpio generation (current ages: 10-22), fast-metabolized through the retailer Hot Topic, brought skulls into the mainstream. Pluto in Scorpio is of course a signature for death-obsession, but death can take many metaphoric forms, not just physical ones. The last generation of Pluto in Scorpio, born 1737-1749, featured the artist Goya (see link to Phil’s article to see his painting of Saturn, but be careful—it’s not for the squeamish), a painter who was fascinated with death and the dark side of humanity. Scorpio’s not afraid to face the darkness.

The skull logo is death imagery surfacing in culture at a time when death is closer for many. Pluto is all around us. War, natural disasters, and simple aging have brought death up on the radar screen. Horror movies are plentiful, and Pirates of the Caribbean has popularized the skull-and-crossbones.

These kids have something to learn about death, and something to teach as well. They needn’t walk into its shadow to learn those lessons, however; only we can help them to walk that path.

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