TUESDAY, March 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) — From 2000 through 2020, there was an increase in suicidal ingestions among children, especially among preadolescent children, according to a research letter published online March 14 in JAMA Pediatrics.

David C. Sheridan, M.D., from the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues obtained data from the National Poison Data System for Jan. 1, 2000, through Dec. 31, 2020, to examine age-specific patterns in suicidal ingestions. All cases of ingestions among patients aged 6 to 18 years were included.

The researchers found that 1,256,963 unique cases were recorded during the study period (68.0 and 32.0 percent female and male children, respectively), with a mean age of 15.3 years. Overall, there were 1,005 deaths; worse than minor clinical outcomes occurred for 28.7 percent of ingestions. During the study period, misuse or abuse ingestions remained relatively constant, although a dramatic increase was seen in suicidal ingestions. An increase in suicidal ingestions was seen for all groups older than 9 years; the change was most significant among those aged 10 to 12 years (4.5-fold increase compared with a 2.4-fold increase among adolescents).

“We believe this study highlights a need for better early identification of youth with mental health needs,” the authors write. “The findings may inform future screening guideline recommendations that extend to the preadolescent population.”

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