Health experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that suicide attempts during the COVID19 pandemic among girls in the age range of 12 to 17 years have shot up notably. Experts have said that new data from the agency have shown that it has worsened as longer social distancing and nationwide lockdowns have continued. When the pandemic has been spreading in the US in early May 2020, emergency department visits in hospitals among teenagers has seen a massive increase. A report that has been released by the CDC has shown that the average weekly number of emergency unit visits for alleged suicide attempts in 12 to 17-year-old girls has shot up by 26.2 percent as compared to the same time last year. The CDC has said that the disturbance of daily life due to pandemic-induced lockdown and social distancing norms put in place might have triggered the increase in suicide attempts. There has been around a 16.8 percent reduction in emergency unit visits in young men and women who have been in the age group of 18 to 24 years in spring 2020. However, in June 2020, nearly 25 percent of men and women of the same age group have said that they have been having suicidal thoughts linked to the pandemic in the last month. It has been consistent with the findings of a report that has been released in 2019. The CDC officials have said that the actual number of emergency unit visits for suicide attempts has shot up majorly throughout the COVID19 pandemic.
The authors of the report from the CDC have said that the average weekly visit to the emergency unit for alleged suicide attempts among teenage girls has shot by 50.6 percent from February 2020 to March 2021 from the weekly average of emergency unit visits of last year during the same time. As per the CDC officials, emergency unit visits for alleged suicide attempts consist of visits for suicide attempts and non-suicidal self-harm. The authors of the report have collected the data from the emergency unit visit data of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program. This report has included the emergency unit visit data of 49 states. However, not all states have been consistent with their emergency unit visit data. Experts have not been able to gather data on people’s race and ethnicity at the time of the study. Generally, the rate of alleged suicide attempts is higher among young girls as compared to young boys. In the new study, experts have seen that the difference has been more profound as compared to past studies. A profound difference in the frequency of alleged suicide attempts among young boys and girls might be due to the pandemic, said the experts. The report released by the CDC has emphasized that the increase has been in alleged suicide attempts not in the number of actual suicide.
Experts who have been involved in the new study have said that the rise in alleged suicide attempts among young girls might be due to the lack of interaction with friends, family, relatives, and virtual learning. They have said that lack of access to mental health care, a rise in substance abuse, and anxiety over the health and economic condition of the family at home might be driving factors for the increase in the number of alleges suicide attempts among young girls. The new study has shown that the average weekly emergency unit visit for mental health issues and alleged child abuse as well has shot up in 2020 as compared to 2019. That might as well have contributed to the increase in alleged suicide attempts in teen girls. The authors of the study have said that increased time at home for children might have made parents more observant about their children’s mental health issues. It has led them to ask for medical care at emergency units in hospitals. It might have been one reason behind the increase in the average weekly emergency unit visit. The authors of the report have said that study might have underrepresented the actual number of alleged suicide attempts as many people in the US have avoided going to the hospital due to the fear of contracting COVID19.