Impact of the pandemic on mental health of adolescents


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Womens’ Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK’s Heart Care Foundation of India    20 May 2022

A study in JAMA Network Open has reported marked increase in the incidence of ICU admissions for deliberate self-harm among adolescents.1

In this multicenter study, Australian researchers examined more than 200,000 medical records of adolescents aged 12-17 years to identify cases hospitalized due to self-injury, ingestion of a drug/nondrug, hanging or strangulation. Data collected from January 2015 through June 2021 was obtained from the binational Australian and New Zealand pediatric intensive care registry.

Out of a total of 64,145 adolescents, 813 adolescents who had been hospitalized in intensive care units for deliberate self-harm were identified. From 7.2 admissions per one million children in March 2020, the incidence of deliberate self-harm ICU admissions in a month increased to 11.4 admissions by August 2020 with odds ratio of 4.84. On the other hand, the all-cause ICU admission rate per one million children and adolescents declined from ~151 (median) to 91.7 in April 2020

This study highlights the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and adolescents evident by the  significant increase in the incidence of deliberate self-harm and ICU admissions arising thereof. However, the study did not identify factors that may have caused the rise in deliberate self-harm among pediatric ICU admissions.


  1. Corrigan C, et al; Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Pediatric Study Group (ANZICS PSG) and the ANZICS Center for Outcome and Resource Evaluation (ANZICS CORE). Admissions of children and adolescents with deliberate self-harm to intensive care during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Australia. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 May 2;5(5):e2211692. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.11692

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