Suicide attempts spike in teen girls during COVID-19 pandemic: study
Suicide attempts by adolescent girls surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening as the second wave wore on, according to a new study.
The number of emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts for those 12 to 17 began to rise in May 2020, especially among girls, the study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
The mean number of weekly such visits by girls during a month-long period in the summer of 2020 was 26.2 percent higher than during the same period in 2019.
By the winter of 2021, the number of ER visits for suspected suicide attempts was 50.6 percent higher than in 2019. Among boys, the number of visits rose by 3.7 percent.
The study theorized young people were at higher risk because they might have been hit hard by COVID-19 safety measures such as physical distancing, and may have felt increased anxiety about family health and economic concerns.
“The findings from this study suggest more severe distress among young females than has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention to, and prevention for, this population,” the CDC said.
Females are more likely to report self harm or suicide attempts than males, which may account for the increased ER visits by girls, Dr. Neha Chaudhary, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School told ABC News.
The CDC noted in the study the increase in suicide attempts did not mean that deaths increased.