Study: More Kids Are Visiting The ER For Suicide Attempts

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 3:50pm

The number of children visiting emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts are on the rise, according to a new study by the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.  

Dr. Adeola Adelayo, a child psychiatrist at Banner Behavioral Health, said social media appears to play a role in the uptick.

"But every child now has a yard stick to compare themselves with," she said.

So kids are looking at other kids and feeling bad about themselves, said Dr. Adelayo. She also said children as young as five know what suicide means, and some end up in the emergency room.

"At least on an average daily census, that two or three, below 10 years old, are waiting for placement, a hospital bed, especially during the school months," she said.

"They have immediate access to information. So they can compare themselves not only at school, but when they get home they have their phones, they’re comparing one another, they’re Snapchatting," said Jason Borgen McIntyre, a clinical care manager therapist at Banner. 

That appears to be a national trend. JAMA Pediatrics found that the number of ER visits for suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts doubled between 2007 and 2015. The report did not cite why, only saying the cause is likely multifactorial.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.   

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