Poverty associated with suicide risk in children and teens

20 March 2020

Suicide rates in under-20s are higher in US counties where there is more poverty, researchers have found.

The study used national databases to collect information on deaths by suicide, the county in which they occurred, and paired the data with poverty rates.

The paper, published in JAMA Pediatrics, shows the rate of suicides in children and adolescents is 37% higher in counties with the highest levels of poverty – where more than 20% of the population in the county lives below the federal poverty level – compared with rates in the lowest levels of poverty.

‘As poverty increased, so did the rate of suicide,’ says researcher Lois Lee MD, Boston Children’s Hospital, adding: ‘This study is more evidence that to provide the best healthcare for all children, we need to try improve some of the socioeconomic areas or conditions where they live.’

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