Self-Inflicted Injuries Are On The Rise In Young Girls

Photographed by Brayden Olson.

More and more young girls have been going to the emergency room with self-inflicted injuries in recent years, according to a new study —especially girls between the ages of 10 and 14.

The report, published Tuesday in JAMA, looked through data of self-inflicted injuries from people aged 10 to 24, from 66 different emergency rooms between 2001 and 2015.

In that time, the ERs reported 43,138 self-inflicted injuries in young people. The amount of those injuries in young boys and men stayed stable throughout the years, but the numbers drastically increased for girls and women.

The number of girls who went to the ER for self-inflicted injuries rose from an average of 245.5 per 100,000 in 2001 to 434 per 100,000 in 2015, the study found. That's roughly an 8.4% increase each year.

The study did not include injuries from firearms, hangings, "recreational" overdoses, jumping from heights, or car accidents. It also did not make a distinction between self-inflicted injuries that were or were not of suicidal intent.

"Suicide is preventable," Melissa C. Mercado, lead author of the study and a behavioral scientist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN. "These findings underscore the need for the implementation of evidence-based, comprehensive suicide- and self-harm-prevention strategies."

Poisoning, which included an overdose on medication, was the most common form of self-harm for girls. There was also an uptick in injuries from a sharp object.

After 2009, there was a dramatic increase in self-harm from girls between the ages of 10 and 14. The number of girls in this age group who went to the hospital with self-harm injuries rose from 109.8 per 100,000 in 2009 to 317.7 per 100,000 in 2015.

The researchers don't know why this increase is happening or why it began happening in 2009, but they note that this data coincides with previous reports of increased depression and suicidal thoughts among teen girls. And all of this data means that we need to be taking action.

Mercado told CNN that proven strategies to reduce suicidal ideation among youth include: "strengthening access to and delivery of suicide care, creating protective environments, promoting youth connectedness, teaching coping and problem-solving skills, and identifying and supporting at-risk youth."

If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Read these stories next:

This Photo Is A Powerful Reminder That Mental Illness Isn't Always Visible

Why Is Suicide On The Rise In Women — & What Can We Do About It?

A Viral Tweet About Depression Is Giving People Hope