Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts On The Rise Among Young People: 'It's A Critical Public-Health Crisis Right Now'

Friday, 18 May, 2018

When it comes to the number of attempted suicide, it has nearly doubled in the period of 2008 to 2015, the study said.

The study discovered children of all age groups are affected; however, the figure was higher among older adolescents.

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The report published by researchers from Vanderbilt University shows that hospitalizations of children between the ages of 5 and 17 have doubled since 2008.

Seasonal variation affected suicide rates, as well, with numbers peaking in the fall and spring, and lowest in the summer.

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It's unclear exactly why more teens are contemplating suicide and self-harm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States. "Some people have theorized that social media is playing a role", There are also differences based on the gender of the kids.

Using data from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), the researchers used billing codes to identify emergency department encounters, observation stays and inpatient hospitalizations tied to suicide ideation and attempts.

"The growing impact of mental health issues in pediatrics on hospitals and clinics can longer be ignored", said Plemmons, "particularly in a time when mental health resources for children appear to be static, and woefully scarce across the U.S". Examining encounters by age groups, adolescents (ages 15-17) had the greatest average annual increase (0.27 percentage points, 95% CI 0.23-0.30), followed by adolescents ages 12-14 (0.25 percentage points, 95% CI 0.21-0.27, P 0.001 for both). 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. Almost two-thirds of those encounters were girls.

Gregory Plemmons, the lead author of the study and a researcher as well as paediatrician at the Nashvilles' Vanderbilt University said that the result of the study confirmed what all he had been seeing at the hospitals. It suggests that the youth may face increased stress and mental health challenges when school is in session.