Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts On The Rise Among Young People: 'It's A Critical Public-Health Crisis Right Now'
18 May, 2018, 09:30 | Author: Joy Garcia
According to a new Vanderbilt study, the number of youngsters hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts has doubled since 2008.
Subscribe to Brainstorm Health Daily, our newsletter about the most exciting health innovations. Peaks for encounters among the groups were highest in the fall and spring, and lowest in the summer.
It's unclear exactly why more teens are contemplating suicide and self-harm.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported that there was a drop in cases of adolescent suicide in the 90s and early 2000s.
The researchers analyzed 115,856 encounters for suicide ideation and attempt in emergency departments at 31 children's hospitals during the study period. These work emphasize the growing need for mental health services and training for clinicians at children's hospitals, and suggests that further study of the contribution of school to SI and SA is needed.
The annual percentage of hospital visits for suicide ideation and suicide attempts nearly doubled among USA children from 2008 to 2015, a retrospective review of hospital database records found.
Suicides among American kids are not new according to the experts. Image credit Getty
The study focused on trends in emergency rooms and inpatient encounters for suicidal thoughts or actions from 2008 until 2015. More than half of the cases occurred in children ages 15-17, with children ages 12-14 accounting for 37 percent, and 12.8 percent of cases involving kids ages 5-11.
Data from the Pediatric Health Information System allowed the researchers to use billing codes to determine the differences between emergency department encounters, observation stays, and inpatient hospitalizations related to suicide.
They examined data from the Pediatric Health Information System database, with clinical and billing data from 49 US children's hospitals.
Plemmons' group noted that prior research, such as a study that found larger increases in depressive symptoms in adolescent girls, and "previously reported data has revealed that adolescent girls appear to be at increasing risk for [suicidal ideation, suicide attempts] and mood disorders".
"To our knowledge, this is one of only a few studies to report higher rates of hospitalization for suicide during the academic school year", says lead author Greg Plemmons, of Monroe Carell Jr. It suggests that the youth may face increased stress and mental health challenges when school is in session.
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