Teenage suicide is a major issue in today’s society; suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life and is a momentous issue that should be addressed as quickly as possible. Teen suicide has been the topic of numerous news headlines; yet, it still continues to have a detrimental effect on today’s youth. In the United States, suicide is currently the eighth leading cause of death for Americans, and for young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
This is extremely startling due to the fact that teen suicide is one of the most preventable forms of death. There are quite a number of allegories and misguided common beliefs that surround the subject of teenage suicide. An example is that people who commit suicide don’t give warning signs; when someone is contemplating suicide, they almost always show warning signs of being suicidal. There have also been numerous misconceptions about the leading cause of teenage suicide.
Although there are a number of things that can cause someone to commit suicide, there is one main reason that has been proven to be the principal cause; mental illness. Some other the leading causes of suicide among teenagers include bullying, depression or anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual and physical abuse. Bullying is indubitably becoming one of the leading causes of teenage suicide; in today’s society, it isn’t unheard of to hear news stories explaining how another teenager has committed suicide as a result of bullying.
Bullying has been a major controversy in schools for countless years, and I believe that it will continue to be an issue for many years to come unless we do something about it. I do believe that people are beginning to take bullying more seriously than they have in past years; however, there is still a lot more that can be done in order to decrease the amount of bullying that takes place. A majority of bullying takes place during our elementary and high school years; it is no secret that kids can be beyond cruel, and it is obviously no different for teenagers.
Peer pressure is reported to be a frequent reason as to why students feel the need to bully their peers. Many people have experienced bullying in some way throughout their lifetime; some people were victims of bullying, while others were the ones doing the bullying, or in some cases, they were both. It isn’t rare to hear that someone who has been a victim of bullying in the past began bullying other people. ABC news reported that almost 30 percent of students are bullies or bullying victims. Cyber, physical and emotional bullying are all different types of bullying.
Bullying someone does not necessarily have to be what is portrayed on TV or in movies where they usually display the victim as some helpless, hapless nerdy kid who gets picked on by someone twice their size, usually a jock. There are a number of myths regarding the reason as to why bullies are bullies. One of the myths that people believe is that once a person gets bullied, then they are always going to be a victim; although this might be true for some, it is not true for all. Some victims of bullying might in turn start bullying others as a result of being bullied.
As for other victims of bullying, as they get older their personalities begin to develop, and people who used to be shy and timid tend to break out of their shell; therefore, they are less susceptible to being bullied. According to a study completed by Yale University, victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to contemplate suicide than people who aren’t bullied. An example of teenage bullying that ended in catastrophe is Tyler Clementi. Tyler Clementi was a freshman at Rutgers University, and he was also said to be gay.
One day, his roommate decided to secretly film Clementi having a sexual rendezvous with another male and broadcast it on the Internet for everyone to see. Humiliated, Clementi decided to commit suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge three days later on September 22. Tyler’s death could have been prevented; he even wrote on Twitter on the day he jumped off the bridge that he was “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry”. After hearing about Tyler Clementi’s suicide, it seemed for a while as if there was a new story on the news or on the Internet stating that another teen committed suicide due to bullying.
It even got so bad that celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Elton John, Anne Hathaway, and many more began posting video messages in order to reach out to teens and to try to stop bullying. Another common myth is that getting bullied is a natural part of growing up. Studies show that bullying does not make children more resilient; instead bullying does the opposite and causes children to feel more exposed and vulnerable. Although bullying mainly takes place among students during grade school, there are other places where people are liable to get bullied.
A person can be bullied by a peer, a co-worker, or even a family member- most likely an older brother or sister. There are numerous bullying prevention programs out there that aim to help people not only cope with bullying, but they try and help the ones doing the bullying direct their anger in ways that are not harmful to others. Some of these programs include B. R. A. V. A (Bully Resistance And Violence Avoidance Program), Champions Against Bullying, Amazing Play Program, I Decide, Peace by PEACE, T. E. A. C. H (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia), Reach for the Stars, The RISE (Respect in Schools Everywhere) Program, Stand Up Against Bullying, and Together We Can Stop Bullying. These programs encourage unity and harmony, and they aspire to stop bullying. It is apparent that bullying has become a serious problem in today’s society. It affects people of all ages, and the results of bullying can be disastrous and devastating; suicide is just one of many examples of a consequence of bullying.
We need to all come together and think of a plan that can help stop bullying. People don’t understand how terrible it feels to get bullied until it happens to them. We are the ones doing the bullying, whether it’s directly or indirectly, so it is up to us to put an end to it. As previously shown, there are quite a number of myths surrounding the topic of teenage suicide; when the myths are addressed and made clear, it is easier for people to get a better understanding of teen suicide and how to deal with it.
Many people have come to believe that you cannot tell when someone is contemplating suicide. They also usually believe that suicide cannot be prevented and assume that every person that commits or has contemplated committing suicide was suffering from some form of depression. I know that I was one of these people before I began researching the topic of teenage suicide. These are common beliefs that are easy to accept as true; however, just because they are common beliefs, it does not mean they are necessarily correct.
People contemplating suicide usually always show warning signs of what they are planning. They typically give some type of warning that they are going to commit suicide before they actually follow through. As long as people do not take warning signs for granted, then it should be predominantly easier to persuade their loved ones that living is definitely worth all of the struggles people face throughout their lifetime. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, some warning signs include epeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness, or desperation, behavior that is out of character, such as recklessness in someone who is normally careful, signs of depression – sleeplessness, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, loss of interest in usual activities, a sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude, giving away prized possessions to friends and family, making a will, taking out insurance, or other preparations for death, such as telling final wishes to someone close, making remarks related to death and dying, or an expressed intent to commit suicide.
Drug and alcohol abuse, stress, and reckless behavior are also common warning signs; another warning sign is if the person has already attempted suicide. Just because someone attempts to commit suicide once does not necessarily guarantee that they will try to do it again; however, as the saying goes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Symptoms of suicide can easily be detected; therefore, suicide can be prevented. Recognizing the warning signs is the easiest way to prevent someone from committing suicide. Antidepressants, support groups, and therapy are some helpful solutions to keep people from committing suicide.
It is extremely inaccurate to believe that once someone contemplates suicide, there is no way to stop them from killing themselves. Talking with the person directly about the situation can also be very helpful; sometimes all people need is for someone to listen to what they are feeling without passing judgment, and to support them when they are unable to carry on. This leads us to another misconception; a lot of people are hesitant to talk to people who show symptoms of being suicidal about the topic of suicide because they believe that by doing so it will push them over the edge and cause them to actually do it.
Talking to someone about suicide will most often do more good than harm; in fact, the worst thing you can do is to not take any action at all. Just being there to support someone who is contemplating suicide can really make an enormous difference in swaying their decision to commit suicide. Helpguide. org states in their article, “Suicide Prevention: Spotting the Signs and Helping a Suicidal Person”, that Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be extremely difficult for anyone.
But if you’re unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to ask. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express his or her feelings can provide relief from loneliness and pent-up negative feelings, and may prevent a suicide attempt. If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care. Don’t take responsibility, however, for making your loved one well.
You can offer support, but you can’t get better for a suicidal person. He or she has to make a personal commitment to recovery. Another common belief about suicide is that every person who commits suicide or is contemplating committing suicide is depressed. Although depression is a leading cause of suicide, not every person who commits suicide does so because they are depressed; there are other factors that play a part in teen suicide. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are other mental disorders that have been proven to be causes of suicide.
Sexual orientation also plays a major role in the leading causes of suicide, especially among teenagers and young adults. According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention, gay, lesbian, and bisexual teenagers have a higher chance of committing suicide than other teens. Also, according to a study completed in 2001, 48% of the gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth have said that their contemplation of suicide related to, or was a result of their sexual preference; they also have been known to report their attempted suicide.
Even though some of the assumptions listed seem as if they could certainly be true; common beliefs are not always correct. It is easy to draw conclusions based on popular belief; however, before jumping to conclusions and assuming things about a certain topic, especially a topic as important as suicide, people should first find out all of the facts. By doing so, the end result could end up helping someone else’s life take a turn for the better. As previously mentioned, bullying is becoming a major factor of teenage suicide; however, there are other aspects that play a role in teen suicide.
There are numerous reasons that teens feel the need to commit suicide; anywhere from a bad break-up to family issues can push someone over the edge and cause them to take their own lives. Surprisingly, anywhere from twelve to twenty-five percent of teenagers experience suicidal thoughts at some point; usually, it is when the suicidal thoughts persist, and teens begin to strategize their deaths that it becomes a serious problem. When teenagers begin planning their suicides, it increases the chances of them acting on their plans.
According to Cooper University Hospital, anywhere from eight to twenty-five people may attempt to kill themselves, but out of those eight to twenty-five people, only one actually succeeds. Out of all of the causes of suicides, mental illness has been proven to be the leading basis; in fact, only about 10 percent of people who have committed suicide were not suffering from a mental illness. A mental illness can be anything from depression to bipolar disorder; although mental illnesses are leading causes of teenage suicide, they are treatable.
There are numerous factors that play a part in teenage suicide. Being a teenager is not an easy thing. A lot of changes occur during a person’s teenage years; changes in bodies, changes in thoughts and changes in feelings. Cooper University Hospital states that Strong feelings of stress, confusion, fear, and uncertainty, as well as pressure to succeed, and the ability to think about things in new ways influence a teenager’s problem solving and decision making abilities.
It is evident that being a teenager is no easy task; we have all experienced some of these feelings at some point during our teenage years, and we all know that it is not always easy to deal with. According to teendeppression. org, alcohol or drug addictions, previous suicide attempts, a recent loss, a break-up, or parents’ divorce, stress, bullying, an overall feeling of hopelessness, or a family history of abuse, suicide, or violence have all been proven to be causes of teen suicide in the past.
It is also said that a lot of teens are cautious of getting help due to the fear of being made fun of for seeking assistance for suicidal thoughts. The National Institute of Mental Health states that While the reasons that teens commit suicide vary widely, there are some common situations and circumstances that seem to lead to such extreme measures. These include major disappointment, rejection, failure, or loss such as breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, failing a big exam, or witnessing family turmoil.
Since the overwhelming majority of those who commit suicide have a mental or substance-related disorder, they often have difficulty coping with such crippling stressors. They are unable to see that their life can turn around, unable to recognize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Usually, the common reasons for suicide listed above are actually not the “causes” of the suicide, but rather triggers for suicide in a person suffering from a mental illness or substance-related disorder.
Just about half of the teens reported to have committed suicide have unsuccessfully attempted to kill themselves before; ; as a matter of fact, WebMD states that between 20% and 50%, around one third, of teenagers who commit suicide have previously attempted to do so. Parents should take into consideration that problems at home can have a negative effect on their children, which could in turn lead to suicide. Furthermore, parents also have the responsibility of letting their kids know that failing a test or exam doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world.
Parents should always encourage their kids to do well; however, there is a line between encouraging them and pressuring them. Even though a lot of these aspects may contribute to teen suicide, there is one factor that has been reported to be the biggest influence, and that is mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI) states that a majority of teens who commit suicide had a mental disorder that could have been diagnosed; in fact, approximately 90 percent of people who have attempted to or did commit suicide were victims of a mental illness.
Examples of some mental disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. According to NAMI, some symptoms that teens who are suffering from these disorders include extreme personality changes, loss of interest in things that they used to enjoy, a major change in their appetite, difficulty sleeping or constantly sleeping, fatigue, withdraw from family and friends, neglect of their self appearance, severe anxiety, or a dramatic drop in their school grades.
The worst part about the fact that mental disorders are the leading causes of suicide is that a majority of these disorders can easily be treated; therefore, it is easier to prevent people from committing suicide who are suffering from one of these afflictions. According to Teen Health Depression affects a person’s thoughts in such a way that the person doesn’t see when a problem can be overcome. It’s as if the depression puts a filter on the person’s thinking that distorts things. That’s why depressed people don’t realize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem in the same way that other people do.
A teen with depression may feel like there’s no other way out of problems, no other escape from emotional pain, or no other way to communicate a desperate unhappiness. Teens with bipolar disorder are more likely to commit suicide due to the fact that although they might feel fine a majority of the time, there may also be times when they feel extremely depressed. Depression is highly treatable, but the problem with a lot of teens is that they do not realize that they are depressed; therefore, they don’t get the proper treatment needed to overcome depression.
They don’t realize that there are other solutions opposed to suicide, and they don’t realize that the decision to commit suicide as a result of a short-term problem will have a long-term effect that can never be reversed. When depression is properly treated, a person’s thoughts on suicide become more coherent, and it is less likely for them to attempt suicide. All in all, although there are many things that can cause a person to commit suicide, mental illness is currently the primary reason.
Suicide is preventable; anti-depressant drugs have proved to be highly effective in helping to thwart teens from committing suicide. The reason as to why so many teens think it is alright to bully and tease others is due to the fact that the repercussions are not stringent enough; therefore, bullying continues to happen. As I’ve stated before, a majority of people planning to commit suicide give some type of warning signs that indicate that they might be planning to commit suicide. Through research, I have found that a lot, not all, of suicides that have occurred could have been prevented.
While some teens suffer from depression and/or anxiety, others are victims of bullying or abuse. People need to realize that every single one of our actions will have a reaction, whether it is good or bad. When we bully and mistreat others, we hardly ever think about what they are feeling. If people were to be more selfless and considerate of other’s feelings, then I am sure that the there will be fewer teens committing suicide. Also, when someone gives up hope on living, it is up to the people around them, such as friends and family, to give them the support that they need to carry on.
Courtney from Study Moose
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