Doctors seeing drastic spike in suicides among teenage girls

ATLANTA — Mental health experts say they’re seeing a drastic spike in suicides involving teenage girls.

Many of the cases, happening across the country and right here in Georgia, involve overdosing on medication or using household chemicals, according to doctors.

The alarming increase is especially concerning for Georgia’s Poison Control Center Director Dr. Gaylord Lopez, who says authorities are still trying to figure out why it’s happening.

"We have seen the trend that females more than males have been attempting suicide at a far greater rate," he said.

One possible reason is the increased pressures of social media.

"Teenaged girls are probably more prone to particularly peer pressure and bullying," Lopez said.


In addition to self-poisoning, girls are using over-the-counter and prescription medications.

Lopez said parents and guardians should watch out for changes in sleeping patterns and increased agitation.

Dr. David Purselle with Georgia Psychiatric Consultants in Decatur is among the other mental health professionals following the trend closely. They're urging parents to be aware, too.

"Is your teenager being more hopeful or having more of a bleak outlook on the future. Talking about suicide can be a big risk, (as well as) being more isolative or appearing more sad," Purselle said.