More Children Ending Up In Hospitals For Suicidal Tendencies

Fahmida Azim for NPR

The study observed drifts in an emergency room and inpatient experiences for suicide ideation and endeavors in kids ages 5-17 years at USA kids' healing facilities from 2008 to 2015. Increases were also higher among girls than boys, the study says.

More and more American children are ending up in hospitals and emergency departments due to suicidal tendencies, a new study finds.

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.

Suicidal tendencies are the inclination for a person to have suicidal ideation or to make suicide attempts. Suicide is typically the third leading cause of death for young Americans, but rose to the second leading cause of death in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a year ago that a drop in adolescent suicide in the 1990s and early 2000s reversed course in 2008, though it's not yet reached peak levels seen in the 1980s.

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.

During the study period, researchers identified 115,856 encounters for suicide ideation and attempts from 31 children's hospitals.

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. Around 37 percent of the encounters were children between 12 and 14 years old, and almost 13 percent were between the ages of 5 and 11 years old. "Increases were noted across all age groups, with consistent seasonal patterns that persisted over the study period".

The largest increases were seen among adolescents between two age groups - 15 and 17, and 12 and 14 - according to the study.

About five years ago, pediatricians at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville found that more and more of their inpatient beds at the children's hospital were occupied by children and adolescents with mental health issues, especially those who had come in because of suicide attempts, or suicidal thoughts.

New research suggests a sobering tie between school and suicide. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

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