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Iowa doctors link increase in teen suicide attempts to pandemic

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 11:47 AM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - A doctor in Des Moines is now blaming the pandemic in part for more teenagers attempting suicide.

Doctor Ken Cheyne, with Blank Children’s Hospital, said they’re seeing an increase at the Iowa Poison Control Center in teenagers ingesting medication in an attempt to hurt themselves.

That was especially in girls ages 11 to 14, with 20 cases in one week. That’s 2.3 times higher than the average rate in Iowa.

Doctor Cheyne said kids need structure and support more than ever.

“One of the ways that adolescents develop and become young adults is through the socialization that occurs, and they’ve really just missed out on that,” Dr. Cheyne said.

The CDC published a report noting teens coming in with behavioral health concerns has increased significantly.

It also suggests COVID-19 is the cause for the negative effect on children’s mental health.

For anyone having thoughts of self harm, help is always available. Foundation 2 has a crisis line at 319-362-2174.

See the story on KCCI’s website.

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