More and more American children are ending up in hospitals and emergency departments due to suicidal tendencies, a new study finds.
It reveals that the number of hospitalization has increased to more than twice the number in 2008.
Suicidal tendencies are the inclination for a person to have suicidal ideation or to make suicide attempts. Suicidal ideation is a common term in the medical field, which refers to thinking about suicide.
Suicide is now known to be the third leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 41,149 suicides occurred in the country in 2013 at a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 people.
New Study: Hospitalization For Suicide Ideation Or Attempt
In the new study published in the journal Pediatrics on May 16, researchers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee examined data collected from the Pediatric Health Information System or PHIS.
Based on this analysis, the researchers tried to look into the overall number of suicidal thoughts and attempts in American children who were admitted to hospitals across the United States between 2008 and 2015. The study involved children who are between the ages of 5 and 17 years old.
What The Researchers Found?
According to the data, the researchers were able to identify more than 115,000 encounters for suicide tendencies in emergency departments at 31 children's hospitals. The rate of encounters for suicidal thoughts and attempts went up from 0.66 percent in 2008 to 1.82 percent in 2015.
The highest increase has been observed in adolescent girls and among teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17 years old. Around 37 percent of the encounters were children between 12 and 14 years old, and nearly 13 percent were between the ages of 5 and 11 years old.
Suicidal Tendencies Linked To Mental Health Challenges In School
In addition to the overall number of suicidal tendencies in children, the researchers also noticed that the rates were at their highest during the fall and spring seasons, but fell sharply during the summer.
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.
"The growing impact of mental health issues in pediatrics on hospitals and clinics can longer be ignored, particularly in a time when mental health resources for children appear to be static, and woefully scarce across the U.S," said Greg Plemmons, lead author of the study and associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.