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Suicide by self-poisoning among teen girls on rise, reports study
May 08 2019

Suicide by self-poisoning among teen girls on rise, reports study

Mental Health

Suicide has been identified as the second leading cause of death amongst children, teens and adults aged 10-34 in the United States. Though suicide has been amongst the top causes of death amongst various age groups for a long time, it has now found a new target – teen girls. It has been noted that the suicide rate amongst teen girls is on a steep rise.

Prior to 2011, death due to suicide by self-poisoning amongst boys was four times higher compared to that amongst girls. However, after that, suicide especially by consuming poison, has been increasing steadily amongst teen girls aged 18 or below.

Alarming trend

In an interview with the ABC News, Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center and clinical professor at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, called this an alarming trend needing immediate attention. Spiller and his colleagues conducted a study on suicide by self-poisoning. They collected data from the National Poison Data System from U.S. poison centers and compared it to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau. During the comparison, they observed that the rate of suicides by self-poisoning rose post 2011 till 2018, the year in which the study ended.

The most significant increase was noticed among young children, aged 10-15. This increase reached 299 percent from 126 percent and was primarily pushed by girls. Another finding of concern was the side effects of the suicide attempts. Almost one-third of the attempts resulted in serious, chronic health problems including lifelong disabilities, irregular heartbeats and low blood pressure.


No single factor could be said to be the cause of these suicides. However, suicides were linked to mental disorders such as depression, fear, pressure to succeed, stress, and confusion. The social factors that contributed to this increase in toll included incidences like death of a loved one, parent’s divorce, and break ups, among others.

During the study, no scientific evidence connecting the causes of suicides could be found. It was suspected that the recent spike in the suicide rate was due to the change in the methods of communication and technology.

Co-author Dr. John Ackerman, suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, blamed social media for this increase. He said that the arrival of social media and smart phones combined with the manner and the frequency with which teens communicated with each other did not help in curbing suicides. Adding further, he said that technology had in fact made information related to suicide easily accessible.

Role of parents

According to Ackerman, parents and guardians should not wait until it is too late to take action. Adults should be present and be curious about their children’s emotional state; they should take an active part in their lives enquiring about their health, mental state , friends, and what is happening in their life in general. They should also look out for warning signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a problem like a mental disorder or an addiction.

He also added that it was important that the kids had the opportunity to have a nonjudgmental and open dialogue with adults. These could include their teachers, counselors, parents, guardians, doctors or any other adult that they felt comfortable with and whom they trusted.

Treatment for mental disorders at ADEONA Healthcare

Suicide is a tragedy – especially in the young generation. Experts feel that essentially, suicide is an overreaction to certain problems that could be dealt with if the lines of communication are kept open. It has also been observed that in 90 percent of the cases, suicide was an indication of an untreated mental illness. ADEONA Healthcare understands that mental disorders can be overwhelming and can lead to suicide ideation.

ADEONA Healthcare is a mental health rehab for teens aged 12-17. We provide comprehensive and effective teen mental health treatment programs for various mental disorders along with treatment for drug and alcohol addiction and dual diagnosis. Each of our patient is treated with an individualized plan that addresses not only the mental disorder but also the underlying causes. This ensures that our young patients are able to achieve complete recovery and are able to lead a productive and happy life.

For more information about the teen mental health treatment programs offered at our San Diego facility, call our 24/7 teen mental health treatment helpline (888) 379-9360 and speak with a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.