More Children Ending Up In Hospitals For Suicidal Tendencies

Henrietta Strickland
May 17, 2018

During the study period, researchers identified 115,856 encounters for suicide ideation and attempts from 31 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. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville.

Study Rundown: Suicide is a leading cause of death among children and adolescents, and previous studies have noted recent increases in suicide, depression, and other mental health diagnoses.

The research 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.

Increases were seen across all ages, but differed across certain groups. A little under 60% of these encounters resulted in hospitalization and of these, about 13% required intensive care.

NBC News noted half of the suicide-related hospital encounters involved teens aged 15 to 17; 37 percent were 12 to 14; nearly 13 percent were children aged 5 to 11 years. Rates were higher during the school year than in the summer, and almost two-thirds of the visits involved girls, according to results published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Suicide is also a significant public health issue for adults.

"We began to notice in our own children's hospital about ten years ago we were beginning to see an increase in the number of children admitted for suicide ideation or attempt and were surprised to find the increase is nationwide". They suggested "age- and sex-specific approaches to suicide screening and prevention". He stated the findings reflected a trend that he himself had observed: Encounters dipped to lowest levels in the summer but peaked during the fall and spring.

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. We were also surprised to see the strong temporal association with the academic calendar (hospitalization rates were twice as high in October than July, for instance)".

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.

Plemmons and co-authors disclosed no relevant relationships with industry.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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