Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts On The Rise Among Young People: 'It's A Critical Public-Health Crisis Right Now'

Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts On The Rise Among Young People: 'It's A Critical Public-Health Crisis Right Now'

Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts On The Rise Among Young People: 'It's A Critical Public-Health Crisis Right Now'

"When we looked at hospitalizations for suicidal ideation and suicidal encounters over the last decade, essentially 2008 to 2015, we found that the rates doubled among children that were hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or activity", Dr. Gregory Plemmons of Vanderbilt University told NBC News. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, identifies which months corresponded with the highest number of hospitalizations. 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. While the study is limited by a lack of differentiation between encounters for SI and SA and lack of generalizability given completion at only free-standing children's hospitals, the study is notable for its large sample size and does contribute to the pediatric community's understanding of recent longitudinal, demographic, and seasonal trends in SI and SA encounters at children's hospitals. The researchers recognized, studies and analysed the number of children who had visited hospital in response to suicidal thoughts. "Increases were noted across all age groups, with consistent seasonal patterns that persisted over the study period".

Gathering data from the Pediatric Health Information System (PHIS), scientists used billing codes and observed emergency department encounters. The children and adults have more than doubled from 2008 to 2015. Almost two-thirds of those encounters were girls. 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. These work emphasize the growing need for mental health services and training for clinicians at children's hospitals, and suggests that further study of the contribution of school to SI and SA is needed.

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"To our knowledge, this is one of only a few studies to report higher rates of hospitalization for suicide during the academic school year", says lead author Greg Plemmons, of Monroe Carell Jr.

Overall, there were about 116,000 encounters for suicide ideation and suicide attempts among children (1.21% of total encounters across 31 hospitals).

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