US young teens and tweens are intentionally injuring themselves. According to a study, there has been a sharp rise in self-harm indicating serious emotional trouble. Experts are worried about those making the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. In 2015, suicide was the second-highest cause of death for American kids aged 10-24.

Middle-school years are turning out to be dangerous

During the period 2009-2015, America witnessed a sharp rise in emergency room (ER) visits, where girls aged 10-24 received treatment for harming themselves intentionally.

Over this period, the hike in ER visits was 8.4 percent annually. Moreover, during the same period, ER visits as a result of self-harm, rose 18.8 percent yearly among girls aged 10-14.

Therefore, it is clear that girls in their middle-school years are the most vulnerable. Self-inflicted injuries such as taking poison, burning, and cutting, are a cry for help. Self-harm is one of the deadliest risk factors for suicide. Ingesting poison and pills is more common among young American Girls than using sharp objects to inflict injury.

CDC collected the data for non-fatal self-inflicted injuries

The new statistics are in line with 2008-2009 reports on the surge in depression and suicides among young American girls, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in an April 2016 study that suicide rates among girls aged 5-15 had tripled between 1999 and 2014. For every 6,660 of such girls, one committed suicide.

The new data, published in a JAMA letter, has also been collected by CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

The data is on self-injury that is non-fatal. Among girls aged 10-24, those in the age group of 15-19 had the highest rate of ER visits because of self-injury. The 2015 number comes to roughly 625 in every 100,000 girls.

Social media, smartphone apps to blame?

In the period 2001-2009, self-injury among girls in the age group of 10-14 was a rarity.

During these years, ER visits as a result of self-harm was about 100 per 100,000 girls. The numbers started rising post 2009, and crossed 300 in 2015. Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Ramin Mojtabai stated in a November 2016 study that stress could be a major factor.

The team also noted that cyberbullying was more rampant in girls than in boys, leading to depression. The study noted that adolescent girls are way more intensively connected to social media apps for smartphones, texting and the likes than their male counterparts. Improper use of mobile phones and their apps can lead to depression.