Research On Suicide Overlooks Young Children

Research On Suicide Overlooks Young Children.

In the USA, about four children out of every 500,000 below the age of 12 commit suicide annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number has doubled since 1979, but in recent years it’s been only the 14th leading cause of death for kids in that age group, just after meningitis and anemia. The numbers are low for several reasons. For one thing, the factors that correlate with suicide—depression, drug use, peer pressure—don’t usually hit until puberty. In fact, autopsies of children who kill themselves show that a higher-than-usual proportion are tall for their age—a good proxy for pubertal status. As you’d expect, the suicide rate climbs among adolescents aged 10 to 14 (1.3 per 100,000) and spikes among teenagers 15 to 19 (7.67 per 100,000). Another reason for the low suicide rate among children is parental supervision. The younger the child, the more likely a parent will be nearby to intervene. However, each death can never be just a statistic to caregivers and family. This American Psychological Association article attempts to get behind the reasons, and possible preventative measures for those with suicide ideation.

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