UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Seasonality of pediatric visits for suicidality

Keywords: psych, pediatric mental health, suicide (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/17/2024 by Jennifer Guyther, MD (Updated: 6/22/2024)
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This was a cross sectional study examining insurance data to determine if there is seasonality related to ED visits and psychiatric hospitalizations related to suicidality.

Suicidality includes both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (but not suicide).  One survey showed that up to 12% of US adolescents reported serious thoughts of suicide.  This study included 73,123 patients where 19.4% were direct inpatient admissions and 80.6% were ED visits, 44% of whom were subsequently admitted.

Metrics for suicidality in 10-18 year olds peaked in April and October with a nadir in June.  Incidentally, in the Spring of 2020 when US schools closed due to COVID, there was a decrease in both ED visits and hospitalizations with April and May having the lowest rates across the study period.

School is believed to increase stress with risk factors such as bullying and peer pressure, academic and extracurricular stressors and poor sleep hygiene.

Bottom line: There has been an increase in adolescent suicidality over the recent years, many of whom present to the ED for evaluation.  More mental health resources are needed, especially during the school year.

References

Bottom line: There has been an increase in adolescent suicidality over the recent years, many of whom present to the ED for evaluation.  More mental health resources are needed, especially during the school year.