Peaks seen in April and October, nadir in July; seasonal patterns were disrupted coincident with school closures in spring 2020
By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter
WEDNESDAY, July 19, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Seasonal patterns are seen in suicidality among children and adolescents, with peaks in April and October and a nadir in July, according to a study published online July 19 in JAMA Network Open.
Youngran Kim, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues examined recent trends in suicidality rates and quantified the seasonality in suicidality in a population-based, descriptive cross-sectional study using administrative claims data. Participants included children aged 10 to 12 years and adolescents aged 13 to 18 years. A total of 73,123 emergency department visits and hospitalizations for suicidality reported between 2016 and 2021 were included in the analysis.
The researchers found that the mean annual incidence of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for suicidality was 964 per 100,000 children and adolescents, which increased from 760 to 1,006 per 100,000 from 2016 to 2019, then decreased to 942 per 100,000 in 2020 and increased to 1,160 per 100,000 in 2021. Peaks were seen in April and October compared with January (incidence rate ratios, 1.15 and 1.24, respectively), while there was a nadir in July during pre-COVID-19 years and in 2021 (incidence rate ratio, 0.63). Coincident with school closures, seasonal patterns were disrupted during the spring of 2020 and the lowest rates were exhibited in April and May.
“We cautiously interpreted the unexpected decrease in suicidality rates during the school closures in spring 2020 as further support for the association between the school calendar and suicidality among children and adolescents,” the authors write.
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