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Orange County’s top elected officials had no comment Tuesday as they were officially alerted to a dramatic spike in local children trying to kill themselves.
The rate of teens and pre-teens hospitalized for intentional self-harm injuries grew 32 percent between 2010 and 2017, the most recent available year of data, according to the annual Conditions of Children in Orange County report.
The rate at which children were hospitalized for serious mental illnesses rose 87 percent from 2008 to 2017, according to the report.
Additionally, the report noted a 76 percent jump in children living in insecure housing over the past nine years – defined as “living unsheltered or in motels, shelters, parks and doubling- or tripling-up in a home.”
In past years, supervisors have publicly discussed the annual report when it was presented to them.
The new report was on supervisors’ agenda for their regularly-scheduled meeting Tuesday as an item to receive and file. Supervisors opted to not discuss it publicly.
In 2017 alone, Orange County teens and pre-teens went to the emergency room 861 times for injuries caused by self-harm, according to the report.
Orange County has long faced a severe shortage of psychiatric beds, particularly for children, prompting many children to end up in emergency rooms that are less prepared to treat mental health crises.
Nick Gerda covers county government and Santa Ana for Voice of OC. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.