Researchers found that over the past decade "the rates doubled among children that were hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or activity".
The study, "Hospitalization for Suicide Ideation or Attempt", looked at trends in emergency room and inpatient encounters for suicide ideation and attempts in children ages 5-17 years at US children's hospitals from 2008 to 2015. The study also underlines the importance of weather on the suicidal rates, as it added that Fall and Spring - the normal school time - have seen the increased number of cases.
It's unclear exactly why more teens are contemplating suicide and self-harm.
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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death which preceded by accidents and homicides among adolescents in the United States.
Plemmons and his colleagues said in the Pediatrics study that it is possible that physicians are paying more attention and sending kids to specialist hospitals because they don't feel equipped to deal with suicidal thinking.
The New York Times reported the proportion of emergency room and hospital encounters for these suicide-related diagnoses nearly tripled, from 0.66 percent in 2008 to 1.82 percent in 2015. Even though mental health issues among children are becoming more widely discussed, access to mental health care services is often scarce.
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The study focused on trends in emergency rooms and inpatient encounters for suicidal thoughts or actions from 2008 until 2015. 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). Girls made up almost two-thirds of the cases.
Study author, Gregory Plemmons, MD, speaks to 2 Minute Medicine: Associate professor in clinical pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 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. It suggests that the youth may face increased stress and mental health challenges when school is in session.
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