New study finds more kids are thinking about or attempting suicide

The increases were highest among teens ages 15 to 17.

Suzanne Monaghan
May 17, 2018 - 4:45 pm
teen depression
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- New research published in The Journal of Pediatrics shows the number of kids and teens who've been hospitalized for attempted suicide or self-harm has doubled since 2008.  

The increases were highest among teens ages 15 to 17, but 12 to 14-year-olds made up more than a third of the cases.

"We can't assume because a child is young that they are not having suicidal thoughts or thinking about harming themselves," said Dr. Rhonda Boyd, a psychologist with Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

While researchers can't pinpoint a specific reason for the spike, hospitals do see a rise during spring and fall which could correspond with the academic and social pressures of the school year.

Boyd says it can be hard for parents to distinguish between typical teen moodiness and depression.

"Many times, at least with depression, kids are irritable instead of sad," she said.

Sudden changes in school performance, friendships, as well as eating and sleeping habits are also possible warning signs.