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Adolescent females saw an uptick in suicidal attempts during pandemic

The pandemic created a spike in juvenile female suicides.
The pandemic created a spike in juvenile female suicides.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 1:56 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The pandemic brought a year of intense isolation and a huge strain on some people’s mental health and according to a CDC report released last month, we are now seeing the full effect it had on one group.

The CDC said emergency rooms reported an increase in suicide attempts by adolescent children. But in that same report, the emergency rooms reported a 50 percent increase in suicidal attempts by adolescent girls.

“What we are seeing now is the families that do come in for help or identify for help are in later or more severe stages of depression, anxiety recurrence suicidal ideation,” said Dr. Dell.

Mary Lynn Dell is the Medical Director of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Children’s Hospital and said suicide attempts for adolescent girls have changed over the past 10 years.

“We have been aware females who may be more reclusive are increasingly using more violent methods for self-harm and suicide,” said Dr. Dell.

Dr. Dell said the initial shutdowns added more stress to those who already were suffering from mental health problems before the pandemic and fueled it more when regular checkups were canceled, and many hospitals were filled with COVID patients.

“Those who were in regular care had to change and shift in terms of how it was provided,” said Dr. Dell.

Another major factor for the spike in suicide among adolescent girls was the closure of schools, extracurricular activities like recess, separation from their friends and teachers- their everyday routine.

“With the pandemic many opportunities that we use as adults to identify children and adolescents who maybe aren’t dealing as well. Many of those opportunities were lost,” said Dr. Dell.

Dr. Dell said dealing with drastic change can leave major scars on some adolescents’ mental health. She said it’s important to be on the lookout for a change in behavior and to listen to them.

“Make time to check in periodically with them, take everything seriously, nothing too small to check out,” said Dr. Dell.

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