The number of kids hospitalized for thinking about or attempting suicide doubled in less than a decade, according to a study published Wednesday in Pediatrics. Almost two-thirds of those encounters were girls.
They examined data from the Pediatric Health Information System database, with clinical and billing data from 49 US children's hospitals.
A new study finding a rise in suicidal thoughts and attempts among young people adds to the research pointing to a decline in mental health among USA children and adolescents. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), that child and adolescent mental health care remains "inadequate", and that research has indicated that emergency departments and acute care hospitals should offer a "safety net" for youth that experience suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. A little under 60% of these encounters resulted in hospitalization and of these, about 13% required intensive care.
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. There were significant increases in percentage of SI and SA encounters across all age groups, sexes, races and ethnicities, and household income quartiles except for the lowest quartile income subgroup. Interestingly, the researchers also observed significantly more suicide attempts or ideations during the school year; that's in contrast to adults, among whom suicide rates tend to spike in spring and summer. But he says there's also evidence that one suicide can set off a chain of suicidal thoughts at a school. They suggested "age- and sex-specific approaches to suicide screening and prevention".
"To our knowledge, this is one of only a few studies to report higher rates of hospitalization for suicide during the academic school year", said Greg Plemmons, the study's lead author.
"Youth may face increased stress and decreased mental health when school is in session", the authors wrote.
Study limitations included potential misclassification of non-suicidal self-harm encounters as suicide ideation or suicide attempts.
Plemmons and co-authors disclosed no relevant relationships with industry.