Huge increase in emergency room visits for kids with suicidal thoughts, study says

The study found a huge increase in children going to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts.
The study found a huge increase in children going to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts.(CNN Newsource)
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:13 AM CST
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(CNN) - According to a new study, emergency room visits for children having suicidal thoughts has been increasing steadily.

The increase started even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at data from hospitals in Illinois from January 2016 to June 2021. During that time, more than 81,000 visits were coded as suicidal ideation.

About 25% of those visits turned into hospital stays.

“It just really highlights how mental health concerns were really a problem before the pandemic. I mean, we saw this huge increase in visits for kids of all ages, honestly, in 2019, and it’s very concerning,” said study co-author Dr. Audrey Brewer, an attending physician in advanced general pediatrics and primary care at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

The study found that visits to the emergency room with suicidal thoughts increased 59% from 2016 to 2021, and hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts increased 57% between fall 2019 and fall 2020.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, or visit the hotline’s website.