Research shows increase in youth suicide attempts

Suicide ideation (SI) and suicide attempts (SAs) have been reported as increasing.

Person asking for help
Image: Pixabay

According to a new Vanderbilt study, the number of youngsters hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts has doubled since 2008. The study observed drifts in an emergency room and inpatient experiences for suicide ideation and endeavors in kids ages 5-17 years at U.S. kids’ healing facilities from 2008 to 2015.

During the study period, researchers identified 115,856 encounters for suicide ideation and attempts from 31 children’s hospitals. 75% among them were girls. While increments were seen overall age gatherings, they were most noteworthy among adolescents ages 15-17, trailed by ages 12-14.

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.

Gathering data from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), scientists used billing codes and observed emergency department encounters. They also identified the data month-by-month and found seasonal trends in the encounters.

The outcomes suggest that the rate of suicidal attempts increased in the fall and spring, and lowest in the summer. It suggests that the youth may face increased stress and mental health challenges when school is in session.

Study lead author Greg Plemmons, MD, associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt said, “To our knowledge, this is one of only a few studies to report higher rates of hospitalization for suicide during the academic school year. The growing impact of mental health issues in pediatrics on hospitals and clinics can longer be ignored, particularly in a time when mental health resources for children appear to be static, and woefully scarce across the U.S.”

The study is published today in Pediatrics.