Emergency department visits for attempted suicides rose globally among youth during pandemic, shows meta-analysis

University of Calgary:

Even though pediatric emergency department visits decreased greatly overall during the COVID-19 pandemic, a newly published study led out of the University of Calgary shows there was also a sharp increase in emergency department visits for attempted suicide and suicide ideation among children and adolescents in that same period of social isolation.

Dr. Sheri Madigan, a clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychology, is the lead author on the study, published today (March 9) in The Lancet Psychiatry, which provides a meta-analysis of 42 studies representing over 11 million pediatric emergency department visits across 18 countries, comparing the data on visits prior to the pandemic with those that took place during the pandemic, up to July 2021.

The numbers show that while there was a 32% reduction in pediatric emergency department visits for any health-related reasons during the pandemic, there was still a 22% increase in children and adolescents going to emergency departments for suicide attempts, and an 8% increase in visits for suicide ideation.

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