An unfortunate discovery has come out of a study by the CDC on how the pandemic impacted young girls. According to the CDC, when looking at emergency room data across the united states it shows suspected suicide attempts skyrocketed for young girls.
The study reports emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts for girls 12 to 17-year-olds rose drastically. From February 21st through March 20th of this year the CDC reports the visits increased 50.6% compared to that same period in 2019.
“The numbers that we’re seeing are alarming and it’s something I’ve never seen before in my career,” said Dr. Matthew Perry who works in the ER at Conemaugh Hospital.
Dr. Perry says unfortunately he has seen this increase at Conemaugh and other emergency departments throughout our region. But why is this happening? Dr. Perry says it’s hard to pinpoint why but he believes it’s a combination of the different impacts the pandemic had on kids. From school going virtual, athletics canceled and having to social distance from friends. Another huge reason why Dr. Perry believes we saw this unfortunate data is because kids spent more time on social media while quarantined and social distancing.
“When I see someone on social media that’s famous I get down on myself because you want to be them or you want to have their body or something like that so it’s really hard,” said Gianna Manippo a 16-year-old from Cambria County.
Gianna and Maggie Manippo, two sisters from Cambria County, say they think the biggest factor in all of this is social media. With more platforms becoming popular during the pandemic like TikTok the two say you have to be even more cautious about what you post online.
“Whenever you want to post something you have to be careful what you say and what you post cause sometimes kids can make fun of you or like bully you online,” said Gianna.
The sisters hope that as the we get back to a “normal” that this unfortunate trend among girls their age won’t continue. Healthcare professionals feel it will take time as there’s still a lot of disagreement on masking and getting the COVID vaccine.
If you or anyone you know needs help you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime 1-855-284-2494.
Dr. Perry also wants people to know they can come to the ER anytime they need and that there are mental health service providers in the area ready to help. Another way Dr. Perry says we can help others is just by checking in on the people in our lives to see how they’re doing.