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U.S. Teen Suicides Up During Pandemic

Authors say interventions to alleviate downstream consequences of the pandemic are needed

WEDNESDAY, April 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Suicides among U.S. teens rose during the pandemic, according to a research letter published online April 25 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Marie-Laure Charpignon, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and colleagues assessed changes in suicide between the prepandemic (2015 to 2019) and pandemic (2020) periods for adolescents aged 10 to 19 years. The analysis included 85,102 decedents with suicide as the cause of death from 14 state public health departments.

The researchers found that Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Virginia had an increase in absolute count of adolescent suicides during the pandemic. There was also an increase in the proportion of overall suicides among adolescents in these states and California. There was a decrease in both absolute count and proportion of adolescent suicides during the pandemic in Montana, while Alaska had a decrease in proportion only. Across all 14 states, during the pandemic, the proportion of overall suicides among adolescents increased.

“Examples of interventions that may address shifting suicidality among young people in the United States include expanding bereavement counseling to cope with the loss of caregivers and implementing more readily available suicide risk assessment solutions,” the authors write.

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