The percentage reported of teenager and young children being hospitalized for thoughts about suicide or actions relating to suicide in the US has now doubled in only a decade, according to research being presented this Sunday in the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.
“We noticed over the last two, three years that an increasing number of our hospital beds are not being used for kids with pneumonia or diabetes; they were being used for kids awaiting placement because they were suicidal,” said the study’s presenter, Dr. Gregory Plemmons, an associate professor at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital.
Sensing a possible trend, Plemmons, along with his colleagues, began conducting their own study into research surrounding the possible causes of this issue throughout the nation. He stated: “And it confirmed what we were feeling: that the rates have doubled over the last decade.”
“We didn’t look at completed suicides, and we didn’t look at actual numbers of total suicides. All we actually could look at were those kids that were admitted to a children’s hospital with a diagnosis of suicide ideation or a suicide attempt,” said Plemmons of the ongoing issue in US teens and young children.
Over half, 59,631 children, were research while they were between 15 and 17 years old, and 37% had been between the ages of 12 and 14. In children that were 5 to 11 years old, amounting up to the total of 15,050 kids, made a representative group of around 13% from the absolute total.
The possible reasons for children to ponder over or attempt suicide is what Plemmons calls the “million-dollar question.”
“Family history of depression or suicide, family violence, child abuse, gay and lesbian youth, history of bullying — those are all risk factors that have been reported. We didn’t look at any of those specific factors in our study.”