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More Children Ending Up In Hospitals For Suicidal Tendencies

16 May 2018

In 2008, 0.66% of all US children's hospital visits were due to either suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts, also known as suicide ideation.

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. Increases were also higher among girls than boys, the study says. Suicidal ideation is a common term in the medical field, which refers to thinking about suicide. Suicide is typically the third leading cause of death for young Americans, but rose to the second leading cause of death in 2016.

Gathering data from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), scientists used billing codes and observed emergency department encounters.

An increasing number of children and adolescents in the United States are struggling with suicidal thoughts as well as attempts.

According to the data, the researchers were able to identify more than 115,000 encounters for suicide tendencies in emergency departments at 31 children's hospitals. Almost two-thirds of those encounters were girls.

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. While increases were seen across all age groups, they were highest among teens ages 15-17, followed by ages 12-14. The study involved children who are between the ages of 5 and 17 years old. By 2015, according to the study, that number had jumped to 1.82%, with rates rising across age groups and demographics. Young Americans aged 15 to 17 experienced the most significant increases, as did girls, and suicidal thoughts and attempts peaked in the spring and fall while declining in the summer.

This observation has led them to believe that there may be a link between suicidal tendencies among the children and the increased stress and mental health challenges they experience when they are in school.

Lead author Gregory Plemmons, a pediatrician and researcher at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., says the study results confirmed what he'd been seeing at the hospital. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

More Children Ending Up In Hospitals For Suicidal Tendencies