Rate of kids going to ER with suicidal thoughts increasing

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Single sad teen holding a mobile phone lamenting sitting on the bed in her bedroom with a dark light in the background

A new study shows the number of children and teens in the U.S. who visited emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts has doubled.

That’s according to publicly available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2007 and 2015.

In 2007, more than half a million children between the ages of five and 18 went to the emergency room for a suicide attempt, or for suicidal thoughts.

Eight years later in 2015, that doubled to more than a million.

Nearly half of them were between ages five and eleven.

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

Mental health experts agree there are multiple reasons for this.

“There’s tremendous pressure on young people now to be popular. How many friends do you have on Snapchat and Facebook? There’s an increase of cyberbullying.”

Also, the 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, who much are they tuning out, or drinking alcohol at night,” Sheryl Ziegler, a psychologist, said.

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 providers – fewer than 17 for every 100 thousand children.

Meanwhile, experts suggest some strategies at home.

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

Also, limit social media and build in quality time with family.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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