Suicide-related cases increasingly common in children’s hospitals, study finds

NASHVILLE — With depression and anxiety rates rapidly increasing among younger individuals, there has also been a concurrent dramatic increase in hospitalizations due to thoughts of suicide and self-harm, a new study finds.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee looked at data from 32 children’s hospitals across the U.S., identifying inpatient and emergency visits between 2008 and 2015 by those between the ages of five and 17.

Young boy looking out at the ocean
A new study finds that the number of cases of children being hospitalized due to suicidal thoughts or self-harm has risen dramatically since 2008.

Narrowing down their focus on diagnoses of suicidality and self-harm in these institutions, the researchers found that these types of visits had more than doubled over the period examined: from 0.67 percent of total visits in 2008 to 1.79 percent of total visits in 2015. More than 118,000 hospitalizations were reported as a result of suicidal inclinations.

A slight majority of patients who demonstrated suicidal thoughts or actions were between the ages of 15 and 17 (59,631 visits), while an additional 37 percent (43,682) were found to be between the ages of 12 and 14. Children between the ages of 5 and 11 still represented an alarming level of hospitalizations, with 12.7 percent, or 15,050 visits recorded.

Although every age group examined saw an increase in suicide-related ideations, the most substantial increases were seen in older children, says lead author Dr. Gregory Plemmons.

The surge was especially seen in 15- to 17-year-olds, with an average annual increase of 0.27 percent being diagnosed with suicidal tendencies. It was far lower, but still measurable, for 5- to 11-year-olds, who saw a 0.02 percent annual increase.

Plemmons, who notes that this study’s results echo recent findings by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, implores for more “research to understand factors contributing to these alarming trends” in a press release issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Interestingly, the study also found that there was seasonal variation in the incidence of suicide and self-harm cases: namely, the fewest occurred during the summer months, while the most happened during spring and fall.

The study’s findings were presented May 7 at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco.


  1. “the fewest occurred during the summer months, while the most happened during spring and fall.”

    No surprise – some kids dread going back to school due to bullies or other problems, others have problems at home and/or friends they can only be with at school and thus dread school ending.

  2. Perhaps they are responding to their parents not having a future in today’s globalized society. Depressed parents leading to depressed kids?

    1. That’s a cutout from the middle of the book. The first chapter finds humanity in this age, hopeless, mindless and in need of real spirituality which comes only from One Source. Remove that Source and the hope goes with it. Before any of us were born, our great grandparents were embracing Darwinism which takes away the Truth of a Loving Creator replacing Him with nothing. It’s a great mystery to modern science what is happening with our children but no mystery to me. No Jesus, no hope. Know Jesus, know Hope.

    1. Right on , John27.
      If doctors stopped pushing psychotropic mind altering drugs on children, suicides would diminish IMO.
      Have we learned nothing since Columbine and other case studies?

      1. It started with the sanitizing of God and Jesus Christ from our culture and then the successful attack on family values and mores was easily accomplished. Along with Darwinism, materialism took precedence and all of our worth was tied up in things and how to get them. Psychotropic drugs are the “treatment” for the disorder which is Godlessness.

      2. Not all doctors push medications for kids who are having behavior problems, social or home problems. I worked in a family practice setting as a nurse for 9 years. It wasn’t the child asking for medication; it was the parent asking, begging or threatening the physician for meds for their child, because they didn’t want to take time to work with the children one-on-one. There are a lot of children who don’t get the attention and quality time they need. No one should be pointing fingers, we all need to take care of and spend quality time with the children.

        1. What you say about negligent parents is very true, but doctors and drug pushing pharmaceutical agents have increased the intake of these dangerous drugs by astronomical amounts. Each prescription states that these drugs may result in suicidal and/or homicidal actions. Millions of young children have been drugged in the past 3 decades and the results are in.
          Finger pointing in this case is not only right, but long overdue

    2. The meds are a bandaid on the bleeding Jugular vein administered by astonished PhD’s most of whom can’t figure out what happened to this society when post-modernism and humanism replaced truth and real spirituality.

  3. That is because we (society) does not call it like it is and that is the cowards way out! One is damning themselves by this act. We are giving them the attention that many of them want except for it is after death – don’t! Make them think; make them what to fight to stay alive; make them push on…..

  4. You need a study on this? Get real. How about broken family life with divorce and constant yelling and fighting, stress of the new media world and the competition this sets up between these young people, stress of violence and all the ugliness in the schools and streets, stress of what am I going to do with my future when I am not qualified to do anything without a college degree. It goes on and on. I don’t like getting older but I would not want to go back and be them facing the uncertainties of this new age world.


    Usually children who are being sexually abused and raped and try to tell someone get murdered and the hospital says suicide. SUICIDE. YES YOU MUST BELIEVE IT.

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