Covid-19 saw visits to the emergency department rise considerably, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data released this Friday cites the reason to be suspected suicide attempts, especially amongst girls. The number registered for weekly visits last winter averaged a whopping 50.6 percent higher in number in comparison to the data from 2019.
CDC Reports Confirm A 51 Percent Rise In ER Visits During Covid-19
A number that corroborates the suspected cases of suicide attempts between the age bracket of 12 to 17 amongst girls. The CDC Morbidity and mortality weekly reports are concerning owing to the findings which list distress as the major factor, especially in younger females. The pandemic has thus reinforced the necessity to pay more heed to the protection of this age group.
Last year’s March and April saw a significant drop in the number of visits since the pandemic hit and the US went into lockdown. This was related to the suspected cases of suicide attempts across the emergency departments for individuals aged between 12 to 25. The arrival of May saw the numbers spike, with emergency department average weekly visits touching new records. Adolescents in the age bracket of 12 to 17 years registered a 22.3 percent higher number of visits for 2020 while 2021 winter saw the number spiral up to 39.1 more. The suspected cases of suicide attempts were much higher in comparison to records in 2019.
The gender disparity is astounding. The suspected cases for suicide attempts amongst girls saw a whopping increase for both summer and winter. While 26.2 percent rise was accorded for summer, winter saw the number go up by 50 percent. While boys between the age bracket of 12 to 17 registered much lower figures. Accounting for only a 3.7 percent rise during winter in comparison to the corresponding period for 2019. The suicide attempts amongst slightly older individuals in the age range of 18 to 25 years registered a downward graph. The drop in emergency department visits declined by 16.8 percent for the spring season of 2020. The figure saw a marginal rise and then a continuous rise for the entire stretch of the pandemic since 2019.
The increased average weekly visits for suicide attempts do not necessitate an increase in suicide-related deaths. The provisional data for mortality provided a different picture altogether. One that corroborated a decrease in the rate of suicides in the fall of 2020 from the fall of 2019. The American Medical Association’s Journal stated the peak of the pandemic saw deaths falling figuratively. The declining ratio of deaths by suicide was 9 percent. There has been a consistency in the research findings, which mentions the self-reported suicide attempts. The number is persistently higher for adolescent females in comparison to males. One that pinpoints the higher chances of emergency department visits for young women than men.
There are several reasons which have been hinted at for the increasing visits since younger people are more susceptible and are at higher risk. These include the measures for mitigation which have had a huge impact during Covid-19. The factors include lack of connectedness, especially to schools, friends, and teachers, followed by the hurdles to mental health treatment. The increasing anxiety related to the health of family and economic hassles as well as a spike in substance usage has been attributed as the causal factors.
2020 even saw the risk factors related to suicide attempts take an upward swing. The visits to emergency departments were also attributed to several mental health issues, which also included child abuse and neglect. Many possibilities have also been derived, which speaks of several instances wherein adults have more awareness of suicidal thoughts and behavior amongst children. They, in all likelihood, would want their children to receive some sort of help.