Children's hospitals admissions for suicidal thoughts or actions double during past decade

May 4, 2017, American Academy of Pediatrics

The number of children and adolescents admitted to children's hospitals for thoughts of suicide or self-harm more than doubled during the last decade, according to new research being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco.

Researchers will present the study abstract, "Trends in Suicidality and Serious Self-Harm for Children 5-17 Years at 32 U.S. Children's Hospitals, 2008-2015," on Sunday, May 7, at the Moscone West Convention Center.

The study included administrative data from 32 's hospitals across the U.S. and identified all emergency department and inpatient encounters between 2008 and 2015 for children between 5 and 17 years old with a discharge diagnosis of suicidality or serious .

The researchers found a total of 118,363 such encounters at the children's hospitals during the period studied. Further analysis showed the annual percentage of all encounters identified as suicidality or self-harm more than doubled over the study period, increasing from 0.67 percent in 2008 to 1.79 percent in 2015.

Slightly more than half the patients with suicidal thoughts or actions (totaling 59,631) were with 15- to 17-year-olds, while 36.9 percent (43,682) were with 12- to 14-year-olds. An additional 12.7 percent (15,050) of the encounters were with children between ages 5 and 11.

Significant increases were noted in all age groups but were higher among the older children, said lead author Gregory Plemmons, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Teens between ages 15 and 17 had an average annual increase of 0.27 percentage points, and 12- to 14-year-olds an average of 0.25 percent each year. This compares to 0.02 percent for 5- to 11-year-olds.

The study also revealed seasonal variations in the and self-harm cases, with the lowest percentage occurring during summer (June through August) and the highest during spring (March through May) and fall (September through November).

Plemmons said the study's finding echo trends identified in recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Research to understand factors contributing to these alarming trends is urgently needed," Dr. Plemmons said, adding that awareness of these trends is also critical for staff preparedness at children's hospitals.

Dr. Plemmons will present the abstract, "Trends in Suicidality and Serious Self-Harm for Children 5-17 Years at 32 U.S. Children's Hospitals, 2008-2015," beginning at 4:15 p.m.

Explore further: ER visits related to marijuana use at a Colorado hospital quadruple after legalization

Related Stories

ER visits related to marijuana use at a Colorado hospital quadruple after legalization

May 4, 2017
Visits by teens to a Colorado children's hospital emergency department and its satellite urgent care centers increased rapidly after legalization of marijuana for commercialized medical and recreational use, according to ...

Screening for suicide risk among urban children vitally important

July 21, 2016
Screening for suicide risk among publicly insured urban children who are experiencing psychological distress is vitally important, finds a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Largest survey to date of patient and family experience at US children's hospitals

March 22, 2017
A survey of more than 17,000 parents of hospitalized children, conducted by the Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement at Boston Children's Hospital, gives mixed responses about the quality of the inpatient ...

Children with suspected child abuse present to hospital late

April 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Children with suspected child abuse (SCA) present late to the hospital, and most arrive at hospitals that are not designated pediatric-capable major trauma centers, according to a study published online April ...

At some hospitals, kids with suspected appendicitis get worse care at night

March 15, 2017
At some hospitals, children receive better care in the daytime than they do at night for suspected appendicitis. This is the finding of a study to be published in the April 2017 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM), ...

Children with medical and psychiatric disorders have driven increase in hospital usage and costs

November 29, 2016
The number of children with psychiatric illnesses admitted to pediatric hospitals in the United States has increased sharply in the past decade, according to a study led by Dr. Bonnie Zima, professor of psychiatry at the ...

Recommended for you

Pregnancy drug DES might have triggered ADHD in the grandchildren of women who used it

May 21, 2018
A study conducted by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported elevated odds for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the grandchildren ...

Age-related racial disparity in suicide rates among US youth

May 21, 2018
New research suggests the suicide rate is roughly two times higher for black children ages 5-12 compared with white children of the same age group. The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), appears ...

One in 10 parents say their child has gotten sick from spoiled or contaminated food

May 21, 2018
No parent wants to come home from a picnic or restaurant with a little one whose stomachache turns into much worse.

Infant growth patterns affected by type of protein consumed

May 14, 2018
A new study by CU School of Medicine researchers has determined that choices of protein intake from solid foods has a significant impact on infant growth during the first year of life.

Parents say intense gun violence in PG-13 movies appropriate for teens 15 and older

May 14, 2018
Parents are more willing to let their children see PG-13 movies with intense gun violence when the violence appears to be "justified," used in defense of a loved one or for self-protection, than when it has no socially redeeming ...

Study finds prenatal marijuana use can affect infant size, behavior

May 10, 2018
Smoking during pregnancy has well-documented negative effects on birth weight in infants and is linked to several childhood health problems. Now, researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions have ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.