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"We have so many demands on them": why are suicide attempts exploding among teenage girls?


Suicide attempts have increased among young people since the start of the pandemic. A phenomenon that is all the more visible on the side of girls, whose emergency room admissions almost doubled in 2021.

The mental state of the youngest has been alarming for some time now.

In 2020, a few months after the start of the first confinement, several studies noted an increase in suicide attempts among adolescents and students, the causes of which were linked in particular to the health crisis and restrictions.

A phenomenon which is becoming clearer thanks to new data from Public Health France for the year 2021, proving to mainly affect girls.

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If the figures do not take into account the full year, but go from the 1st and the 43rd week of the year (ie until the end of October), their verdict remains final.

Among girls under 15, Public Health France observed a 40% increase in emergency room admissions for attempted suicide, compared to the previous three years.

Ditto for young women between the ages of 15 and 29, with a 22% increase in suicidal gestures in 2021, compared to only 1% for boys.

How, then, to explain this large discrepancy?

And why, our young teenagers go more easily towards this passage to the act?

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Multifactorial causes

For Marie-Rose Moro (1), professor of child psychiatry and author of the book

And if we loved our adolescents

(Ed. Bayard)


several factors could explain this imbalance between girls and boys, also observed outside the pandemic. "It is important to consider suicide attempts among young girls as ways of expressing their psychological suffering", immediately points out the expert, who also explains that it is very difficult to give precise reasons for this trend. “For some, this can be explained by a more exacerbated fragility during menstrual cycles. Or even by pathologies, transmitted from generation to generation. The socio-cultural context is also an element to be taken into account. Bullying at school, for example, amplified by social networks, or the increase in intra-family violence are all reasons that could “precipitate the desire to take action”.

Girls tend to express their discomfort more easily than boysMarie-rose moro, professor of child psychiatry

That said, it is important to specify that the rate of suicide followed by death remains higher among boys. For adolescents over and under 15, suicidal gestures are observed through so-called “gentle” methods that are less life-threatening, that is to say by taking medication. For Marie-Rose Moro, this can be part of deeper identity and societal constructions. “Girls will tend to express their discomfort more easily than boys. In this sense, they will go to consult, will more easily recognize that they are in bad shape, and thus use strategies to call for help. The suicide attempt is therefore a form of expression, more than an end in itself. Where boys, more withdrawn and impulsive,will move towards more radical solutions such as hanging or defenestration".

“I wanted to anesthetize myself”

This observation raises another important point: the lack of care and support, in particular due to the consequences of the pandemic, between closed reception structures, teleconsultation, and endless waiting lists. “The health crisis has caused traffic jams among caregivers. And the more the need has increased, the more the supply has decreased, creating an all the more important feeling of isolation. Thus, among the sentences that Marie-Rose Moro now hears most often: “I wanted to anesthetize myself”, “I am worth nothing”, “You did not listen to me”.

If the school usually plays a decisive role in self-affirmation, the successive confinements have therefore not helped, even among the less fragile. Marie-Rose Moro notes this ubiquitous lack of esteem among teenage girls today. The "disease of the century", as she calls it. “We have so many demands on young girls …”, annoys the specialist. And while at puberty the body changes, it is difficult to understand these changes locked up in oneself. “The feeling that life is not worth it goes with this confidence, the affirmation of one's identity, which is built at school. If a teenager can no longer locate herself in space, identify with friends, belong to a group, then she no longer belongs to anything. »

In video, six psycho tips to overcome confinement

death as reality

Finally, since the beginning of the pandemic, young people have become more aware of death and disease.

“Obviously, this is also the case for the boys, but death has become real for them”, continues Marie-Rose Moro.

Worse, she enveloped herself in a strong sense of loneliness.

“Some have seen their grandparents die alone and masked.

I don't know if this has trivialized death, but what is certain is that mourning rituals have become more difficult, even almost non-existent.

(1) Marie Rose Moro, author of

And if we loved our teenagers

(Ed. Bayard), 14.90 euros.

The editorial staff advises you

  • The psychological consequences of the epidemic on adolescents

  • "Regression, nightmares, withdrawal": Covid and confinement have traumatized many children

  • The distress of parents when their teenager suffers from immense heartache

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2022-01-14

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