EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 A.M. (ET), TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2017
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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.
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
— 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
— 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
— 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.
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.)
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