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Teen suicide attempts increased during pandemic lockdowns

According to the CDC’s report issued last week, hospital visits for suspected suicide attempts skyrocketed during 2020. The rate for girls increased much more than the rate for boys. In early 2020, we saw encouraging drops in visits for suicide issues. Starting in May 2020, however, two months after the lockdowns began, the rates started rising. As the lockdowns continued, the rates of suspected suicide attempts continued to rise.

The statistics are too narrow to attribute all of the increase to pandemic restrictions, but it is hard to think of anything else that correlates to the same time frame. It is all too possible that in our zeal to safeguard our children’s physical health, we exposed them to much greater risks to their mental health. Certainly, the rates of COVID symptoms and related serious illnesses in children has been much lower than the mental health issues during the same time frame. It looks like it is going to be easier to help our children recover from the coronavirus than from the measures designed to fight the virus.

Among adolescents aged 12–17 years, the rate of ED visits for suspected suicide attempts also increased as the pandemic progressed Compared with the rate during the corresponding period in 2019, the rate of ED visits for suspected suicide attempts was 2.4 times as high during spring 2020, 1.7 times as high during summer 2020, and 2.1 times as high during winter 2021 (Table).

Tags

mental health, coronavirus, youth serving organizations

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