The number of children seen in emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts has increased significantly over the last five years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began. In a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers at Northwestern University analyzed the data from hospitals in Illinois to determine how many children between the ages of 5 and 19 sought help for suicidal thoughts in emergency departments between January 2016 and June 2021. They found that ER visits for suicidal thoughts increased 59 percent during that time. In the beginning of the pandemic alone, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts increased 57 percent. The scary part is that the actual numbers of children and adolescents with thoughts of suicide are likely much higher, as not all kids struggling with mental health tell adults or seek medical help.