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Alarming Rise in Number of Children Attempting Suicide

The number of suicide attempts via poisoning are rising dramatically in children between the ages of six to nineteen according to a new report. Between 2015 and 2020, attempts rose 26.7%, highlighting a growing mental health crisis among youths.

Cases reported to the National Poison Data System included both attempted and deaths by suicide. In 2015, the number of suspected suicides through poisoning was 75,248. In 2020, that number rose to 93,532.

Data shows girls make up 77% of the cases. Children of all age groups showed increases in suspected suicide cases via self-poisoning, but alarmingly, there was a 109.3% increase in kids between 10 and 12.

The two most common self-poisoning methods in children were overdosing on acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Both pain reliever medications are available without prescription in stores and children are more likely to have easy access to these drugs. Among these, there were 276 deaths and 14,916 cases of self-poisoning that left children with life-threatening symptoms or long-term disability.

The study authors wrote:

This data demonstrates concerning rises in cases of self-poisoning between 6 and 19 years of age, suggesting that the pediatric mental health crisis is worsening and extending into younger populations. We need to be vigilant for the warning signs associated with suicide risk in our children. Our study is one of a number that demonstrates that we are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis in younger age groups.

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