Study: Children As Young As 5 Could Take Their Own Life

By Chiara Leghler, Parent Herald September 21, 04:33 am

Suicide is no longer determined by age as a new study claims that a child as young as 5 years old could take his or her own life. Accordingly, suicide in these ages is due to their suffering from relationship problems with their family or friends.

Researchers investigated suicide among children from the age of 5 to 14 years old using the data collected by the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2002 to 2012. Gospel Herald reports that in comparison to the cause of the suicide with the adolescents, who usually kill themselves due to relationship problems with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, the children in the aforementioned age bracket decide to commit suicide because of family and friends.

The lead study of the author, Arielle H. Sheftall, indicated that the differences in the reason of suicide fall in the developmental lines which are elementary school-aged children. This is due to the fact that during this age, children are more likely to spend time with their family and friends and are not engaged in romantic relationships.

In the research, they were also able to find out that in the 29 percent of the cases they studied involving the children in the mentioned age bracket, the children express their desire to take their own life before they kill themselves. Although there have been instances that children as young as 5 commit suicide, the study found out that the suicide rate for kids aged five to 11 is at 0.17 percent per 100,000 children. However, for teens from the age of 12 to 17, it drastically increases to 5.18 percent per 100,000.

Dr. Gregory Fritz, the director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School, who is not involved in the study but is familiar with the matter added that children as young as 5 years old committing suicide happens but it is not that frequent. He added, "We have to confront that reality. Adults need to take even little kids seriously when they talk about suicide."

According to CBS News, it was also found out by the researchers that boys have a higher risk of suicide and that black teens and young adults have lower rates of committing suicide as opposed to whites. It is also notable that one-third of the suicide victims had a mental health problem such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This mental health problem can reportedly make children impulsive. Depression is another mental health problem.

Suffocation and strangulation are said to be the most common methods of suicide among children. Suicide is now the top 10 leading cause of death among children as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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