Study Finds Children Going to ER for Suicidal Thoughts and Attempts has Doubled

The Study

Researchers used public US CDC administered data from approximately 30,000 visits to 300 emergency rooms. They tracked the diagnosis of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts for children 5 to 18 from 2007 to 2015.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found an increase, in either suicidal thoughts or suicidal attempts, from 580,000 in 2007 to 1.12 million in 2015.

Why it’s Happening

Reasons for the increase in depression and suicidal behaviors:

1) Stress and pressure on kids

Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School says one reason might be more stress and pressure on kids.

“Kids are feeling more pressure to achieve, more pressure in school, and are more worried about making a living than in previous years,” he said.

2) Increased stress on parents and caregivers

Outside of children and teens, suicides have increased in all age groups over the past 20 years. This has a ripple effect and is passed down to children and teens.

3) Social media and cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be especially difficult for kids,” explained Dr. Neha Chaudhary, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The CDC reports that approximately 15% of US high school students report that they’ve been bullied online in the past year. Another survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found the number might be closer to 59%.

Shortage in Care

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

JAMA Pediatrics published a recent study that found half of kids in the United States with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety go untreated.



CNN Health article:

Number of children going to ER with suicidal thoughts, attempts doubles, study finds

You can read the report by clicking the link below:

Suicidal Attempts and Ideation Among Children and Adolescents in US Emergency Departments, 2007-2015