A new study found children’s hospital admissions for suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and self-poisoning increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study led by Dr. Naveen Poonai, a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and pediatric emergency medicine physician at LHSC’s Children’s Hospital looked at emergency department visits and hospitalizations for adolescents from April 2015 to March 2022.
It found that hospital admissions for suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and self-poisoning rose by 11 per cent, across Canada during the pandemic, especially among girls aged 10 to 14 years old.
“Our findings underscore an urgent need for public health policies to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics on the mental health of adolescents, including screening programs for suicide risk that include younger adolescents,” said Poonai, the lead author of the study and is an associate professor at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.
Social isolation, education disruption, fears of contagion, and financial hardship are among the reasons the pandemic may have had a greater impact on adolescents, as they are more susceptible to psychological impacts from isolation.