Adolescence can be difficult. But it seems to be especially challenging for middle school girls, with them visiting the emergency room for self-inflicted injuries more than any other group, according to a new report.
Researchers from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently completed a 15-year study that explored the trends in emergency department visits for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries among people aged 10 to 24.
To do so, they examined first-time visits for nonfatal injuries, such as poisoning, cutting and overdosing on drugs, treated in 66 hospitals across the world from 2001 to 2015. Overall, about 29,000 girls and 14,000 boys with self-inflicted pain were cared for during the time span.
They found that suicide rates for teen boys and girls is on the rise and that suicide was the second-leading cause of death in 2015. However, while emergency visits for boys have remained stable in recent years, trips to the ER have increased for girls.
Between 2009 and 2015, the number of girls aged 10-24 admitted for self-inflicted injuries went up by 8.4 percent annually. Furthermore, the rate was highest among older teen girls, who had about 633 visits per 100,000 in 2015.
The report noted most girls were admitted for ingesting pills or poison, but some were treated for hurting themselves with sharp objects.
“Findings are consistent with previously reported upward trends in youth suicide rates during 1999-2014, in which rates increased most notably after 2006 with females aged 10 to 14 years experiencing the greatest increase,” the study read.
They believe increased reports of depression could be the cause, but other reasons “warrant further study.”
Researchers hope to help implement new strategies to help combat the issues. They include strengthening access to care for suicidal youth, teaching coping and problem-solving skills and identifying at-risk youth.