An unfortunate trend is on the rise in the U.S., and the concerning news is that American females are especially at risk. According to a recent study, suicide by self-poisoning has more than doubled among teens since 2000.
While the startling rise represents an alarming finding, there is an even more eye-opening statistic among the data: During this period the number of suicide attempts more than tripled for young women and girls.
The study findings resulted from an analysis of the data on suspected suicide by self-poisoning in individuals between the ages of 10 to 24 years old, between the years 2000 to 2018. Researchers found that during that time period time, more than 1.6 million such cases were reported to U.S. poison control centers. The vast majority of cases, 71% or 1.1 million, were committed by females.
Study co-author Henry Spiller noted, “The severity of outcomes in adolescents has also increased, especially in 10- to 15-year-olds. In youth overall, from 2010-2018 there was a 141% increase in attempts by self-poisoning reported to U.S. poison centers, which is concerning.”
Research shows that suicide by self-poisoning is the most common suicide method in America and the third-most common method used by adolescents. In the U.S., suicide is the second-leading cause of death in individuals between the ages of 10 to 24.
Caucasian males commit suicide in greater numbers than females, but women and girls on average make more suicide attempts than their male counterparts do.
Prevention is Key
The study’s co-author Dr. John Ackerman, a suicide prevention expert, put the findings in perspective by saying, “While certainly unsettling, it’s important that parents and individuals who care for youth don’t panic at these findings, but rather equip themselves with the tools to start important conversations and engage in prevention strategies, such as safe storage of medications and reducing access to lethal means. There are many resources and crisis supports available around the clock to aid in the prevention of suicide, and suicide prevention needs to start early.”
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