Teen suicide is a major problem in today’s society and it is totally preventable. This issue needs to be taken care of immediately. Teen should not be taking their lives intentionally. Teen suicide is derived from three major factors: bullying, drug/alcohol abuse, and most commonly mental illness. It has been a pretty popular topic in the media world but it still just gets pushed under the rug. Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States between the ages of 15 and 24 (Holmes 1). It is also one of the most preventable forms of death because the person will show warning signs. This is a common myth; that people do not show any warning signs. That in fact is wrong, someone who is thinking about committing suicide almost always shows warning signs it is whether or not you pay attention and take action towards them. Although there are many factors that can lead people to cause suicide mental illness is the leading cause. Bulling, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual or physical abuse follow close behind (Teen Suicide Statistics 2). Bullying is quickly starting to become one of the major leading causes of teen suicide.
There are plenty of news stories on how yet another teen has taken their life due to being bullied. Bullying has been a serious problem in schools for many years now and somehow it needs to be put to an end. School should be a safe place where you go to get an education. You should not have to worry about if your going to get picked on today before school, during lunch, or after school and so your day is just spent in fear. In the past year bullying in schools has been brought to the public attention more but nothing is really successfully being done about it. Most bulling occurs in the elementary and high school years. Everyone knows that kids and teenagers can be curl towards each other at times. A common reason that kids or teens feel the need to bully someone is peer pressure. Almost everyone has experienced some type of bullying in their lifetime, whether they were the victim, the one doing the bullying, or even just being a bystander. ABC news has reported that almost 30 percent of students are bullies or bullying victims. It is not uncommon to hear of those that were often bullied became bullies themselves in return.
It is not always just the nerdy kid with glasses that gets bullied on the playground by the jock it can be anyone. Once it gets to the point where the kid doesn’t even want to come to school anymore and they aren’t acting like themselves it is time to really be concerned. According to a study completed by Yale University it states; “victims of bullying are two to nine times more likely to contemplate suicide than people who aren’t bullied” (ABC 1). We all have heard of teenagers that were bullied and as a result they took action in an extravagant way. An example of this is the columbine shooting that happened on April 20th, 1999 in Colorado. Dylan Kelbord and Eric Harris had known each other since middle school and one day they were so fed up with their peers and they took violent action. On April 20th, 1999 the boys’ seek to get revenge on those that had ever made fun of them. During the middle of the school day the boys walked into the school with guns, knives, and bombs and walked down the hallways to kill. By the time that it was over twelve students, one teacher, and the two boys were dead, and 21 more were injured. (Rosenberg 1) All of this could have been prevented. Both Kelbord and Harris showed suicidal signs.
Stated in the video left behind by them Kelbord states that he had been contemplating suicide since 1997 and the boys started thinking of a large massacre in 1998. They even wrote about this plan in each other’s yearbooks. Also stated in the Columbine Massacre by Jennifer Rosenburg is that “looking back, there were telltale hints and clues that something was seriously wrong. Video tapes, journals, guns and bombs in their rooms would have been easily found if the parents had looked” (Rosenburg 4). So, all of this could have been prevented if people had paid more attention to their personalities. After this incident it started to become more common to hear about teen suicide in the media related to being bullied. It got so bad that celebrities such as Elen Degeneres, Elton John, Anne Hathaway, and many more began posting video messages to reach out in an attempt to stop bullying.
There are so many bullying prevention programs out there that not only help those cope with being bullied, but they also try and help the ones that are doing the bullying. These programs help them direct their anger in a non-harmful ways. Some of these programs are B.R.A.V.A. (Bully Resistance and Violence Avoidance Program), T.E.A.C.H. (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophiba) and the RISE (Rise in Schools Everywhere) (Registry of Bullying Prevention Programs 1 2). These programs are all created to focus on putting an end to bullying. Theses programs are great because bullying affects those of all ages. Everyone is guilty of it and everyone knows how it feels to be put down. So together we need to stand up against bullying in every school and if this were to happen the number of teen suicides related to being bullied could be reduced greatly.
Even just paying attention to warning signs can help those in need get help. “According to the Canadian Metal Health Association some warning signs include but are not limited to; repeated expressions of hopelessness, helplessness or depression, behavior that is out of character, signs of depression – sleeplessness, social withdraw, loss of appétit, giving away prized possessions, telling final wishes, remarks related to death and dying, or an expressed intent to commit suicide” (Preventing Suicide 1). All of these signs should be taken seriously in order to prevent the worse. However bullying is of course not the only factor that leads many teens to suicide.
Drug and/or alcohol abuse is also a contributing factor that may lead a teen to suicide. It could be that they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol and has led them to commit suicide or that they had tried using these substances to cope with their feelings and they ended up having an overdose or poising. No matter what the scenario is there is still help for substance abuse so it does not have to lead to accidental or intentionally overdoses or suicide due to withdrawal. There are all kinds of support groups, therapy or even having a friend sit them down and talk to them about their concerns they have been noticing can help lesson the numbers of death from these substances. Talking with the person directly about the situation can be very beneficial. It could be that all the person needs is someone to listen to what they are going through and what feelings they are having without being judged or looked down upon.
Giving them your support can help them work through it and make them feel like life is tough but it is worth living. There is also the myth that talking to a person about their suicidal thoughts will push them over the edge and cause them to actually follow through with it. In reality talking to someone about suicide will most often times do more good than harm; in fact the worst thing you can do is not take any action at all (Teen Suicide is Preventable 1). Helpguide.org states in their article, “ Suicide Prevention: Spotting the Signs and Helping and Suicidal Person,” that Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings can be difficult but, if you even think they might be thinking about it it’s better to ask. You cannot make a person suicidal by showing that you care. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express their feelings can provide relief from loneliness and may prevent a suicidal attempt. If a friend or family member is suicidal, the best way to help is by offering an empathetic listening ear. (Suicide Prevention 2)
Just letting your loved one know that he or she is not alone and that you care can make a world of difference. However, don’t put the responsibility of making them well on you. Still offer them recovery options. Drug and alcohol abuse is often times common for depressed people and is a hard habit to break that is not easy to do alone.
Depression is a leading cause of suicide and falls under the category of mental illness. All mental illness can be anything from depression to bipolar disorder. Although depression is the leading cause of suicide it does not mean that everyone who commits suicide was depressed. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are other common mental illnesses that have been proven to be causes of suicide according the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI 1). Sexual orientation, which can also fall into the cat orgy of mental illness, also plays a major role in suicides among teens and young adults. According to the Centre for Suicide Prevention, gay, lesbian and bisexual teens have a higher chance of committing suicide than other teens. “According to a study completed in 2001, 48% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth have said that their contemplation of suicide was related to, or was a result of their sexual preference” (Suicide among Gay… 1). Out of all causes of suicides, mental illness had proven to be the leading basis; in fact only about 10% of people who have committed suicide were not suffering from a mental illness of some sort. With the majority of people that have committed suicide suffering from a mental disorder or substance abuse, they often times “have difficulty coping with such crippling stressors. They are unable to recognize that suicide is a permant solution to a temporary problem according to the National Institute of Mental Health” (NAMI 3).
There are many factors that play a role in teenage suicide. Being a teenager is not an easy thing. You are going through all kinds of body, thought and feeling changes during your teen years. School is not easy and people are not always nice. That is just how life goes. Teens need to know that everyone faces these problems and there are many other ways to cope with any situation before it has to lead to suicide. Anti- depressant drugs have proven to be highly effective in helping teens steer away from the thought of suicide. People need to stand up against bullying and take into general consideration that every action will have a reaction on a person, whether it is good or bad. Suicide is preventable and if people were more considerate of others feelings, then the number of teen deaths could easily be reduced. When someone gives up hope on living there needs to be more hands reaching out to them and showing them why they are here today.
Courtney from Study Moose
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