Number of juveniles going to ER for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts doubles, new study finds

Kids going to ER with suicidal thoughts, attempts doubles, study says

(CNN) – A new study shows the number of children and teens in the U.S. who visited emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts doubled between 2007 and 2015.

In 2007, more than 500,000 young people between the ages of 5 and 18 went to the emergency room for a suicide attempt or for suicidal thoughts, according to the study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Eight years later, that number doubled to more than a million.

Forty-three percent of the juveniles visiting emergency rooms were between ages 5 and 11.

Researchers based the study on publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2007 and 2015.

“Unfortunately, the results from this study are no surprise,” said Dr. Nadine J. Kaslow, a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Mental health experts agree there are multiple reasons for the increased number.

"There's tremendous pressure on young people now to be popular. How many friends do you have on Snapchat and Facebook? There's increase of cyberbullying," Kaslow said.

There’s also pressure to get into increasingly competitive schools.

Parents and guardians are stressed too – and children are watching.

“Look at how they’re modeling how they deal with stress: How much are they tuning out, or drinking alcohol at night?” said psychologist Sheryl Ziegler.

And there aren’t many resources for children who are struggling.

Data from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows the majority of the country faces a severe shortage of practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists, with fewer than 17 providers available for every 100,000 children.

Meanwhile, experts suggest some strategies at home.

"Let your child fail,” Ziegler said. “Let them take risks, so that way they learn how to deal with it, and they learn how to be successful on their own."

Experts also suggest limiting social media, and building in quality time with family.

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