Most child suicides are linked to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) rather than depression
Suicide has become 10th leading cause of death among children in United States and kids who commit suicide are likely to have relationship problems with family members or friends, a new research reveals.
“Although suicide is extremely rare in elementary school-aged children, parents should be aware that children can and sometimes do think about suicide.”Co-author Dr. Jeffrey Bridge from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said.
Researcher analyzed the data about suicide deaths between 2003 and 2012 obtained from the National Violent Death Reporting System in 17 U.S. states and compared the suicides in kids aged 5 to 11 to adolescents aged 12 to 14.
Researchers found that children of both age groups had several things in common. Most of the kids were black, male and had a mental disorder. Nearly 59 percent of children who died of suicide were suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) compared to adolescents who were mostly troubled by depression. 29 percent children in both age groups had disclosed their intention for suicide to someone before killing themselves.
“Our study highlights the importance of educating pediatricians, primary health care providers, school personnel and families on how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and what steps to take when suicidal intent is disclosed,” said Arielle Sheftall from Center for Suicide Prevention and Research.
“The warning signs include a child making suicidal statements, being unhappy for an extended period, withdrawing from friends or school activities or being increasingly aggressive or irritable.”
It is the first study directed towards understanding individual characteristics and circumstances involved in suicide attempts among children aged 5 to 14. Identifying unique patterns of potential suicide will allow people to incorporate diverse strategies according to the child’s developmental level, race or ethnicity. Timely detection and implementation of a strategy could save many children life and can help reduce suicide rate in young people.
“It is important to ask children directly about suicide if there is a safety concern,” said Jeff Bridge. “Research has refuted the notion that asking children directly about suicide will trigger suicidal thinking or behavior. It does not hurt to ask. In fact, asking about suicides leads to hope for at-risk youth.”