These are figures to be interpreted with caution, but which match what child psychiatrists have been observing in the field for a few months. Suicide attempts (TS) seem to be on the rise in France among children, but also among adolescents and young adults, according to several surveys based on different indicators.
Thus, the number of calls to poison control centers (CAPs) for voluntary poisoning has been increasing since the second confinement in autumn 2020, and the trend has been accentuating since the beginning of 2021, especially among young people, according to an ongoing study. publication.
Doctor Dominique Vodovar (doctor at the CAP in Paris) and Professor Fabrice Jollant, psychiatrist and researcher (GHU Paris psychiatry and neurosciences), analyzed the activity of the eight CAPs in the territory, between 1er January 2018 and March 31, 2021. They were particularly interested in the calls (either from professionals welcoming these patients in emergency, or from suicides themselves or their entourage) for attempted suicide by ingestion of household products, plants or more often drugs. Over this three-year and one-quarter period, approximately 50,000 files were reviewed.
“While the number of daily calls for TS had dropped significantly during the first lockdown [du 17 mars à au 11 mai 2020], there has been an overall increase since that of autumn 2020 and especially since January, mainly among 12-24 year olds ”, details Dominique Vodovar. The resuscitator stresses that these data are part of a drop in the number of TS and suicides in recent years.
The recent increase in suicide attempts among young people is to be compared with other signs of ill-being reported in this category of the population by doctors: anxiety, sleep disorders, depressive states, etc.
In question, the persistent stress and the exceptional situation generated by the pandemic, which exacerbate the psychological weaknesses. But maybe other factors as well. “This generation is under incredible pressure between the health crisis, ecological concerns and the threats of attacks that also affect it”, recently underlined in our columns the child psychiatrist Richard Delorme.
From January to March 2021, the CAP treated forty to sixty cases of voluntary intoxication daily, against thirty to forty-five for the same period in 2020. Medicines are involved in 80% of cases. An increase in calls has also been emerging since the fall of 2020 among those under 12 and over 65, “But the numbers are limited, so it is difficult to conclude”, tempers Doctor Vodovar.
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