Study: Teen suicide rate dipped following COVID-19 school shutdowns, spiked when classes resumed

ByBrianne Hailey Killeen WABC logo
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Study: Teen suicide rate dipped following COVID-19 school closures
A new study found that the teen suicide rate dipped after schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but spiked when classes resumed in 2021

A new study found that teen suicide rates in the U.S. dipped when schools closed in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but spiked back up in 2021 when in-person classes resumed.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston studied data from more than 73,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations between 2016 to 2021. They examined specifically for information on suicidality.

They found that teen suicides and attempts increased by more than 32% nationally between 2016 and 2019.

Then in 2020, when many schools were shut down for much of the year due to restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, the rate dipped by 6.8%.

When in-person classes resumed for many U.S. schools in 2021, suicides and attempts among teens spiked by 23%.

According to the study, seasonal patterns showed peaks in teen suicide rates throughout the months of April and October during 2021 and the pre-pandemic years.

Researchers concluded that the existence of seasonal patterns as well as the unexpected decrease in suicide rates after spring 2020 school closures shows a possible link between suicidality and the U.S. school calendar.

They also indicated that interventions during those peak months of April and October may help protect against seasonal increases and save the lives of many teens.

This study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide - free, confidential help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call or text the national lifeline at 988.

Find support for issues with mental health, drugs, or alcohol through the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration, a part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.


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