Experts on adolescent suicide say too often, guns and stigma around masculinity and mental health lead to deadly outcomes.
By Jennifer Gerson
Suicide rates were 3.2 times higher for teenage boys than teen girls between 2018 and 2020 — with guns increasingly playing an outsize role. Boys and young men represent 80 percent of all youth suicide deaths, and 90 percent of all those who die by suicide using a firearm.
“Few people know that the majority of gun deaths in this country are actually suicides,” said Nina Vinik, the founder and executive director of Project Unloaded, an organization that works with teens and adolescents to make data-backed decisions to reduce the risk of being hurt by gun violence. “When most people think about gun violence, they tend to think about interpersonal gun violence, which is certainly important — but really overlooks the crisis that we are facing with firearm suicide.”