New study of youth hospitalizations finds 24 percent of behavioral-related admissions complicated by suicidality or self-harm

Thursday, June 14, 2018
CLEVELAND – A recent study published in American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services journal found previous research on youth hospitalizations associated with behavioral and mental disorders failed to adequately consider children exhibiting suicidality or self-harm.  Previous studies assigned behavioral health disorders, such as depression, as the primary diagnosis, while identifying suicidality or self-harm as a secondary diagnosis. By looking closely at the data, the new study found that nearly 24 percent of all behavioral-related admissions are complicated by suicidality or self-harm. 

Behavioral disorders affect nearly 20 percent of children in the nation, and are among the top five most costly conditions. “This is a vulnerable population in need of high quality health care,” said Lawrence C. Kleinman, MD, MPH, FAAP, the study’s principal investigator, and the Frederick C. Robbins Professor of Child and Adolescent Health at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Child Health and Policy at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.  “As self-harm is rarely a principal diagnosis, our approach offers new insights into the extent to which suicidality and self-harm are a part of pediatric hospitalization.”

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