The following is excerpted from an online article posted by HealthDay.
Children with mental health problems are flooding America’s hospitals.
A new study of 4.8 million pediatric hospitalizations between 2009 and 2019 found that the number of acute care hospitalizations for kids with mental health problems increased significantly. In 2019, most were due to attempted suicides, suicidal thoughts, or self-injury, researchers said.
“What we’re seeing are more and more hospital stays by children and adolescents due to mental health concerns in terms of absolute numbers, and a substantially larger fraction of these stays are related to suicide or self-injury,” said study leader Mary Arakelyan, research project manager at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
The study found that pediatric mental health hospitalizations rose 26% between 2009 and 2019.
And, over that same period, those owing to attempted suicide, suicidal thought, or self-injury increased from 31% to 64%.
Senior researcher Dr. JoAnna Leyenaar, vice chair of research in the pediatric department at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, said kids with mental health issues go to hospitals because they have nowhere else to turn.
The hospitalizations are a marker of the increasing prevalence and severity of mental health conditions in kids, Leyenaar said.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.