Emergency departments see surge in suspected suicide attempts among adolescent girls


A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that emergency departments documented a surge in visits for suspected suicide attempts among 12- to 17-year-old girls in early 2021, compared to before the pandemic.

The research determined that emergency departments reported a mean of 50.6 percent more suspected suicide attempt visits between Feb. 21 and March 20, 2021 among adolescent girls, compared to the same period in 2019.

Overall, adolescents had 39 percent more suspected suicide attempt visits in the winter 2021 period compared to 2019, but that increase was largely driven by girls. There was a 3.7 percent rise in these visits for adolescent boys in that period.

Why it matters: The study outlines the trends for suspected suicide attempt visits throughout the pandemic, after experts had warned about the mental health effects of the pandemic, including the stay-at-home orders in the spring of 2020.

The CDC through the data determined that suspected suicide attempt visits among adolescents “increased as the pandemic progressed,” with girls mostly contributing to the boosts.

The agency called for more attention to be brought to the issue, especially among adolescent girls, to reduce the risk of suicide. The CDC emphasized that a rise in visits for suspected suicide attempts does not mean there was a surge of suicides in the time period.