Child, adolescent mortality hits 15-year high, fueled by pandemic suicides, homicides, and overdoses

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Woolf explained that the “likely contributors to both trends include increased access to firearms and a deepening mental health crisis among children and adolescents,” according to the report.

During the pandemic, demand for mental health support far outpaced supply, leaving young patients especially vulnerable. Children as young as eight went to doctors with thoughts about killing themselves.

Lois Lee, a pediatric emergency physician at Boston Children’s Hospital who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention, explained that her practice has seen a drastic increase in young children coming into the office with thoughts of ending their own lives. 

“We are seeing younger and younger patients coming in with mental-health crises, and even those 8 to 10 years old coming in with suicidal ideation,” Dr. Lee told The Wall Street Journal.

The study revealed that overdose deaths for children between the ages of 10 and 19 started to increase right before the pandemic and are still on a steady incline.

Injury mortality was also recently up, increasing 23 percent for ages 10 to 19 between 2019 and 2020, along with a 39 percent rise in homicides and a 114 percent climb in overdoses. 

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