Study: Increase in adolescent ER visits for self-inflicted injur - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Study: Increase in adolescent ER visits for self-inflicted injuries

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A new study says more teens are going to the emergency room for self-inflicted injuries.

The information comes from a new study done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, looking at ages 10 to 18. Self-inflicted injuries represent a small percentage of emergency visits, according to the study, but there is a dramatically higher chance of death in young people who self-harm than other adolescents who visit the ER for other kinds of emergencies.

It says between 2009 and 2012, there was a significant increase in the number of adolescents who self-harmed and ended up in the emergency rooms. It's in line with what local counselors say they see in Horry County.

The study showed in girls particularly, one particular method of self-harming is most common.

"The cutting seems to be almost a badge of honor," according to Jane Osment, LPC Counselor at Coastal Samaritan Counseling Center. "To where, in the school system it's almost a, kind of a fad kind of thing. 'Do you cut? Yeah I cut', and so that you see the increase."

Parents - you think you know what your kids are up to, and surely you would know if they were trying to hurt themselves. But Osment, who counsels young teens, says all too often, it is surprise to parents. "The school system is the one who found out. A friend goes to the school counselor and the school counselor ends up calling the parent," Osment says.

She says with cutting, kids are often not trying to kill themselves; they think it helps them tolerate emotional pain by forcing physical pain. The CDC shows suicide is the third leading cause of deaths in age groups 10 to 24. Osment says the reason is often not feeling like they fit in, in school or with family.

Counselors say there are warning signs that your teen is headed for trouble, and it's easy to mistake them for classic teen behavior. But if your kid goes from being the child you know and love to totally isolated and withdrawn, you should consider finding them someone to talk to.

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