ED visits for suicidal thoughts, self-harm up sharply in 2017, 2018

Visits to U.S. emergency departments for suicidal thoughts, self-harm or both increased 25.5 percent in the two years between January 2017 and December 2018, the CDC reported.

For the CDC's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers used data from CDC's National Syndromic Surveillance Program to assess ED visits for suicidal ideation (that is, thinking about or planning suicide), self-directed violence or both among Americans older than 10 years from January 2017 to December 2018.

Of approximately 163 million ED visits assessed, 2.1 million involved suicidal ideation, self-harm or both. The rate of ED visits involving suicidal ideation, self-harm or both increased 25.5 percent, with an average increase of 1.2 percent per month.

The rate increased 22.7 percent for women and 27.6 percent for men. Among both sexes, the ED visit rate for suicidal notions and self-harm increased the most in the 10-19 years age group — 33.7 percent increase among female and 62.3 among male pre-teens and teens.

Three U.S. regions experienced significant increases in these ED visit rates: the Midwest (33.8 percent), the Northeast (16.0 percent) and the West (13.3 percent).

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