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Rates of self-injury, including cutting and attempted suicide, on the rise among young girls

By WITW Staff on November 27, 2017

The frequency of attempted suicides, drug overdoses, cutting, and other forms of self-injury has skyrocketed among American girls in recent years, according to a new study released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

For girls between the ages of 10 and 14, emergency room visits due to self-injury nearly tripled from 2009, when roughly 110 per 100,000 visits to the E.R. were self-harm related, to almost 318 per 100,000 visits in 2015. The self-injury rate for older teens, while higher, increased less dramatically since 2008, but still accounted for nearly double the rate of younger girls at 633 visits per 100,000. Until 2008, researchers noted, the self-injury rates for girls had mostly been stable.

According to Dr. Mark Olfson, a Columbia University psychiatry professor, the results of the study “should be of concern to parents, teachers, and pediatricians.”

“One important reason to focus on reducing self-harm is that it is key risk factor for suicide,” he said.

The most common forms of self-injury, researchers found, were self-poisonings such as drug-overdoses, followed by intentional self-cutting. And while the rate of self-harm for girls may have increased dramatically during the past 15 years, the rate for boys was found to stayed mostly the same. To help at-risk kids, researchers said, ways must be found to reduce their feelings of isolation and disconnection from their peers.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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