Trends in adolescent suicide have long shown gender differences: while girls are more likely to attempt suicide, suicide rates for boys are higher. This disparity, however, can become smaller.
Suicide rates among girls and boys aged 10 to 19 showed a downward trend during most of the 1990s until 2007, when they began to increase. However, they grew at a faster pace among girls compared to boys, according to a new study.
The authors of the National Children's Hospital study explained that narrowing the gap was related to changes in the suicide method. While girls were more likely to commit suicide by suicide in the past, the study's findings suggest that they had moved on to more lethal means, including suffocation and hanging.
"One of the potential contributors to this gender paradox is that men tend to use more violent means, such as firearms or hanging," said Jeff Bridge, co-author of the report. study and director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide, in a press release. "This allows us to reduce the gender gap in hanging or suffocating suicide that we found particularly worrisome from a public health perspective."
The researchers discovered the trend after reviewing data relating to over 85,000 adolescent suicides that occurred between 1975 and 2016.
Bridge emphasizes the importance for parents to talk to their children and note the signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
"Parents need to be aware of the warning signs of suicide, including a child who makes suicidal statements, unhappy for a long time, who is withdrawing from friends or school activities, or who is becoming more aggressive or irritable. Said Bridge. "If parents are observing these warning signs in their child, they should consider taking him to a mental health professional."
If you or someone you know has suicidal ideation, contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), where you will be connected to a local emergency center.