More Young People are Dying, Greater Prevention and Intervention Efforts Needed > Hospital Association of Pennsylvania


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More Young People are Dying, Greater Prevention and Intervention Efforts Needed

June 01, 2018

A new report reveals troubling information about spikes in death rates for young persons. The death rate for people aged 10 to 19 jumped 12 percent between 2013 and 2016. That rate had fallen 33 percent between 1999 and 2013.

The statistics were shared in a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These recent increases in deaths are not due to illness. There has been a rise in injury-related fatalities. Those fatalities include traffic accidents, drug overdoses, suicides, and homicides.

Unintentional injury deaths were most prominent. Those deaths declined 49 percent between 1999 and 2013, and then increased 13 percent between 2013 and 2016. Motor vehicle traffic deaths, which increased 12 percent since 2013, are the leading method of unintentional injury.

For children and adolescents aged 10 to 14 years, drownings remained the second leading cause of injury death. Poisoning deaths impact older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years. These poisonings were caused by drug overdoses, primarily due to opioids, including heroin.

Suicide for persons aged 10 to 19 years, which had fallen from 1999 to 2007, rose by 56 percent between 2007 and 2016. The male-to-female suicide rate ratio narrowed during this time. This data is consistent with data about emergency department visits for nonfatal, self harm requiring treatment. These cases often are a warning for suicidal behavior.

Homicide rates, the third leading cause of death, had dropped by about one-third during 2007–2014. Those numbers also reversed and increased 27 percent during 2016. Firearms were the leading method of homicide, accounting for almost 9 in 10 deaths.

The overall reversal in death rate trends for young people means that many different support systems––government, health care providers, community-based programs––must lead and take a harder look at health prevention efforts for this population.

HAP has been fully engaged in work with the hospital community and many other stakeholder groups to address the opioid crisis. The association also is calling for more resources for behavioral health care. HAP is advocating for increased government commitment for behavioral health funding; protection of insurance coverage and access to care; as well as a reduction in the regulatory barriers to primary care and behavioral health care integration.

In addition, many Pennsylvania hospitals are collaborating with community partners to develop violence prevention programs, and violence-based trauma support. Hospitals and health care providers also are playing a greater role in addressing social determinants of health.

For more information about behavioral health, contact Jennifer Jordan, HAP’s vice president, regulatory advocacy. For questions about population health, contact Rob Shipp, HAP’s vice president, population health strategies.

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