Suicide-related ED visits increased in children from 2007 to 2015
(HealthDay)—From 2007 to 2015, the number of emergency department visits for suicide attempts (SA) and suicide ideation (SI) doubled among children, according to a research letter published online April 8 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Brett Burstein, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Montreal Children's Hospital, and colleagues performed a repeated cross-sectional analysis of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey emergency department database for 2007 to 2015 to examine trends in emergency department visits for pediatric SA/SI. Data were included for 59,921 unweighted visits, of which 2.8 percent met the inclusion criteria for SA/SI visits.
The researchers found that 43.1 percent of SA/SI visits involved children aged 5 years to younger than 11 years, and only 2.1 percent of patients were hospitalized. There was an increase in SA/SI visits from 2007 to 2015, from 580,000 to 1.12 million (P for trend = 0.004). No statistically significant change in total emergency department visits was seen during this time (26.9 to 31.8 million; P for trend = 0.67). From 2007 to 2015, there was an increase in SA/SI as a proportion of all pediatric emergency department encounters, from 2.17 to 3.50 percent (P for trend < 0.001). For SA only, emergency department visits increased from 540,000 to 960,000 (P for trend = 0.02).
"Findings suggest a critical need to augment community mental health resources, emergency department physician preparedness, and post-emergency department risk reduction initiatives to decrease the burden of suicide among children," the authors write.
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