More young adults are thinking about suicide and death, national survey finds

Over a third (37%) of young Americans ages 18 to 24 report having thoughts of death and suicide and close to half (47%) show at least moderate symptoms of depression, according to a new nationwide survey by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Northeastern, Harvard and Northwestern universities. 

This is about 10 times the rate observed in the general population prior to COVID-19, researchers said.

“These are clear indicators that the pandemic, with its social and economic consequences, is taking a heavy toll on the mental health of Americans and especially on young people,” said co-author Katherine Ognyanova, an assistant professor of communication at Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information.

The report shows elevated rates of distress in both men and women, across racial and ethnic groups, and across regions of the U.S. and cites pandemic consequences including closure of school or university, working from home, absorbing a pay cut or losing employment.

According to the survey, the largest increase in symptoms was among those whose homes were impacted or potentially impacted, in situations such as eviction or inability to pay rent or mortgage, followed by those whose income was impacted by such things as unemployment or pay cuts.

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By Rutgers University

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766, the university is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 70,000 students and 23,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers locations across New Jersey and around the world.

Rutgers University

(Source:; November 11, 2020;
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