A growing number of children and teenagers across the country are trying to hurt or kill themselves by using over-the-counter or prescription medications, researchers have found. As per reports,100 cases of preteens attempting suicide by drug overdose have been reported to the center since January 2018.
Among those cases, 68 were children who were 12 years old. Twenty were 11 years old, seven were 10 years old, and three were 9 years old.
In nearly 80 percent of the reported cases, the preteen was a girl.
Suicide rates for young girls are rising at a pace faster than that of boys, changing the established patterns that boys are more likely to die by suicide and that girls are more likely to consider it and attempt it, according to a new study.
Boys tend to use methods that are more fatal on average, such as shooting or hanging. Girls tend to use methods that are less fatal on average, such as self-poisoning.
But given the short period of time over which the rates of suicide have spiked for young girls, studies point to social media as a likely contributor. Compared with boys, girls use social media more frequently and are more likely to experience cyberbullying.
Girls who are depressed also elicit more negative responses from their friends on social media than boys.
Combined, these findings suggest that the negative effects of social media may be stronger on girls and may provide one explanation for why young girls are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Yet social media may be just one piece of the puzzle. To help reduce the risk of suicide, it’s important to provide mental health support to those who show warning signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Parents and other caregivers should help youth set healthy boundaries around their social media and technology use. It’s also important to limit their access to medications or other means of self-harm, such as firearms.
Youth who attempt suicide by self-poisoning often use over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs that are accessible at home.
To lower the risk of accidental or intentional overdose in children and teenagers, it is recommend locking up medications and safely disposing of pills that are no longer needed.