Thursday, September 10, 2020

Suicide-Related ED Visits in United States Continue to Rise

The rate of emergency department (ED) visits related to suicidal ideation or attempt increased for all age groups between 2008 and 2017, according to a Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project statistical brief. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the brief’s findings highlight the need to work to prevent death by suicide.

“Suicide is a major and growing public health concern in the United States, ranking among the top 10 leading causes of death.” wrote Pamela L. Owens, Ph.D., of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and colleagues. “From 2001 to 2017, the suicide rate increased 31%, from 10.7 to 14.0 per 100,000 population. In 2017, this equated to more than 47,000 deaths.”

The authors’ findings included the following:

  • The rate of ED visits related to suicidal ideation or suicide attempt in 2017 was highest among those aged 15 to 19 (952.5 per 100,000 population), 20 to 24 (719.3 per 100,000 population), and 25 to 44 (642 per 100,000 population).
  • Overall, the rate of ED visits related to suicide was higher among males compared with females in 2017. However, among those aged 10 to 19, the rate was higher among females.
  • Overall, the highest rate of suicide-related ED visits was for females aged 15 to 19 years.
  • Medicaid and Medicare were the most frequent payers for ED visits related to suicide.
  • In 2017, nearly 65% of ED visits related to suicide resulted in a hospital admission or transfer to another facility, compared with only 17% of other ED visits.

“Suicide is preventable,” the authors wrote. “Suicidal thoughts or actions are indications of extreme distress and require immediate intervention. [EDs] are an important site of care to identify individuals at risk, to provide timely support and intervention, and, in some cases, to facilitate entry into more intensive treatment. Information on trends in ED utilization related to suicidal ideation or suicide attempt can help inform resource needs and target prevention efforts.”

(Image: iStock/MJFelt)

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