More Children Ending Up In Hospitals For Suicidal Tendencies

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 16, 2018

More and more American children are ending up in hospitals and emergency departments due to suicidal tendencies, a new study finds.

It reveals that the number of hospitalization has increased to more than twice the number in 2008.

Suicide is now known to be the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a year ago that a drop in adolescent suicide in the 1990s and early 2000s reversed course in 2008, though it's not yet reached peak levels seen in the 1980s.

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.

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.

Just over half of the encounters were children ages 15-17; another 37 percent were children ages 12-14, and 12.8 percent were children ages 5-11. The rate of encounters for suicidal thoughts and attempts went up from 0.66 percent in 2008 to 1.82 percent in 2015. Rates were higher during the school year than in the summer, and almost two-thirds of the visits involved girls, according to results published in the medical journal Pediatrics. In addition to looking at overall suicide ideation and attempt rates in school-age children and adolescents, the researchers analyzed the data month-by-month and found seasonal trends in the encounters.

Rates were lowest in summer, a season which has historically seen the highest numbers in adults, suggesting that youth may face increased stress and mental health challenges when school is in session. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

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