Emergency Department Visits for Self-Inflicted Injuries Increase among Young U.S. Females

 
Bottom Line: Emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries among young females increased significantly in recent years, particularly among girls 10 to 14.
 
Why The Research Is Interesting: Young people in the United States have high rates of nonfatal self-inflicted injuries that require medical attention; self-inflicted injury is a strong risk factor for suicide.
 
Who: Children, adolescents and young adults in the United States ages 10 to 24.
 
When: 2001-2015
 
What (Study Measures): Rates of emergency department visits for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries using national survey data.
 
How (Study Design): This is an observational study. Because researchers are not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain study findings.
 
Authors: Melissa C. Mercado, Ph.D., M.Sc., M.A., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta and coauthors
 
Results:
 
Overall
 
— 43,138 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injury 2001-2015
 
— 5.7 percent annual relative increase in visits after 2008
 
— Poisoning the most common method of injury
 
Females
 
— 8.4 percent annual relative increase in visits from 2009-2015
 
— 18.8 percent annual relative increase in visits after 2009 among girls 10 to 14
 
Males
 
— Rates of visits stable 2001-2015
 
Study Limitations: Because the study focused on emergency department cases, rates among all youths ages 10-24 are probably underestimated.
 
Study Conclusions: Rates of self-injury among females appear to be increasing since 2009, a finding that points to the need for the implementation of suicide and self-harm prevention strategies within health systems and communities.
 
Featured Image:
 
For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.
 
What The Image Shows: Panel A illustrates stable rates of nonfatal self-inflicted injury emergency department visits for males ages 10 to 24 years from 2001-2015. Panel B shows increases in rates for females ages 10-24 years. (Click on the image for a full-size version. Right click to “save image as” to download.)
 
(doi:10.1001/jama.2017.13317)