News Release

Emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries increase among young US females

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Bottom Line: Emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries among young females increased significantly in recent years, particularly among girls 10 to 14.

Why The Research Is Interesting: Young people in the United States have high rates of nonfatal self-inflicted injuries that require medical attention; self-inflicted injury is a strong risk factor for suicide.

Who: Children, adolescents and young adults in the United States ages 10 to 24.

When: 2001-2015

What (Study Measures): Rates of emergency department visits for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries using national survey data.

How (Study Design): This is an observational study. Because researchers are not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain study findings.

Authors: Melissa C. Mercado, Ph.D., M.Sc., M.A., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta and coauthors



  • 43,138 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injury 2001-2015

  • 5.7 percent annual relative increase in visits after 2008

  • Poisoning the most common method of injury


  • 8.4 percent annual relative increase in visits from 2009-2015

  • 18.8 percent annual relative increase in visits after 2009 among girls 10 to 14


  • Rates of visits stable 2001-2015

Study Limitations: Because the study focused on emergency department cases, rates among all youths ages 10-24 are probably underestimated.

Study Conclusions: Rates of self-injury among females appear to be increasing since 2009, a finding that points to the need for the implementation of suicide and self-harm prevention strategies within health systems and communities.


For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.


Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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