C.D.C. Finds Spike in E.R. Trips Linked to Suspected Suicide Among Teen Girls

The findings “suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports,” the new study said.

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A C.D.C. report finds a pandemic spike in E.R. visits related to suspected suicide attempts among teen girls.

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a spike in emergency room visits related to suspected suicide attempts among teenage girls in early 2021, while such visits remained stable for teenage boys. Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

June 11, 2021, 11:34 a.m. ET

Emergency room visits related to suspected suicide attempts by teenage girls spiked in the first months of 2021 compared to rates in 2019 and 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday.

The new study, which relied on data from the National Syndromic Surveillance Program, showed that adolescent girls aged 12 to 17 visited emergency rooms for suspected suicide attempts 50.6 percent more often in the winter of 2021 than the corresponding period in 2019.

The rate of suspected suicide attempts among adolescent boys and adults of both genders aged 18 to 25 remained stable, compared with the corresponding period in 2019.

“The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population,” the report said.

Referring to emergency department visits, the report added, “Importantly, although this report found increases in ED visits for suspected suicide attempts among adolescent females during 2020 and early 2021, this does not mean that suicide deaths have increased.”

The research relied on data from about 71 percent of the nation’s emergency departments in 49 states and follows a number of recent studies that showed rates of mental health problems and suicidal thinking and behavior among teenagers increased during the pandemic.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can find a list of additional resources at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

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