Explore Teen Suicide in The United States

In 1990 the adolescent suicide rate was 19.22 per 100,000 in the United States. Suicide was the 8th leading cause of death(Lee et al.). 11 percent of adolescents ages 12- 19 took their own life (Miniño, M.P.H.). Two years later suicide became the fifth leading cause of death for young people 25 and under. The C.D.C released data showing a dramatic increase in teen suicide rates. Nearly doubling from 1980, the suicide rate for young people adolescents ages 10 to 14 in 1992 was 1.7 per 100,000 persons.

The rate for young adults ages 15 to 19 rose 28.3 percent and is now 10.9 per 100,000.

The most dramatic change during this time was the suicide rate among black males ages 10 to 14 which almost tripled from 1980. Starting at age 12 and ending at 19 years, the death rate among teenage males increases 32 percent on average for every additional year of age. At the age of 12, the male death rate by suicide is 46 percent higher than females, and almost three times the rate for females at age 19(Miniño, M.

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P.H.). The death rate for females increases on average 19.5 percent for ever-increasing year of age.

In 2001 suicide accounted for 1.3 percent of deaths in the US. 12.3 percent were young adults ages 15 to 24 years old. 2.1 percent were males totaling 24,672 deaths. In contrast, the female suicide rate made up 0.5 percent with 5,950 deaths total. There are 750,000 suicide attempts every year. There were an estimated 5 million living Americans have had at least one suicide attempt this year. From 2003 to 2004 the C.D.C. released another set of data showing the suicide rate rose another 18 percent for young adults under 20, bringing the number from 1,737 to 1,985.

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In contrast, going from 11 per 100,000 in 1990 to 7.3 per 100,000 in 2003, the suicide rate for teens ages 15 to 19 fell. In 2004 suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people accounting for a total of 4,599 deaths. “Suicide prevention programs focus on teenage white males and not on younger children or members of minority groups,” said Dr. Alex Crosby, a C.D.C. epidemiologist (Lawton).

In late November 2018, the National Vital Statistics System released data for suicide rates in 2017. For males ages 10-14, the 2017 rate was 1.4 percent higher than in 1999 and 5.9 percent higher for ages 15-24. Young people considering suicide are sometimes being asked “what about your family?”, or they are told to “suck it up, it could be worse.” Things like this are the reason young adults are afraid to speak up regarding their mental health issues. Suicide being a selfish act is a question being raised amongst the mental health community. Is it more selfish for someone to force someone struggling to want to stay alive to stay and suffer for their own personal needs? It is not a selfish act, but a desperate act. If a child is at the point in their life that they feel taking their own life is the only way out, who can say that they have to stay? No one around this person has put in an effort to care about this person while they are/were alive, so should they get to say it is a selfish act when they do reach the end?

Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease, or in an irreversible coma, a practice that is illegal in most countries. Oregon was the first US state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. The argument against euthanasia says things like, “there is no right to die”, “alternative treatments are available”, and “it can never be truly controlled.” If someone is hurting so much, shouldn’t they have the right to end their suffering?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines the term stigma as a “mark or token of infamy, disgrace or reproach.” In the mental health, the industry describes it as “an unfair, inaccurate, and dysfunctional reputation tied to a notion of mental illness that lacks any voluntary component. The stigmatization of mental illness is the reason many kids do not seek help, as well as the fear of their reputation being ruined. In 1991 the National Institute of Mental Health did a poll showing that “43 percent of respondents regarded depression as a personal failing, rather than illness”(Vatz). In the colonial period, people who suffered mental health issues were considered lunatics. They were only cared for by their families. Soon after, asylums were the main form of treatment for those suffering. Patients weren’t deinstitutionalized and allowed back into the community until the 1950s.

In 2001, the World Health Organization (WHO) did a study revealing that 20 percent of the US population is affected by mental health issues. They also stated that less than 40 percent receive treatment for said mental health issues. The stigma surrounding mental health has been a problem for decades. In 2013, a national poll of Americans was taken. 46 percent of respondents said that “people with serious mental illness are, by far, more dangerous than the general population.” 67 percent said they were unwilling to have a mentally ill person as a neighbor, and 71 percent said they were unwilling to work closely with a mentally ill person on a job. (What Is the Main Cause of Stigma Against Individuals with Serious Mental Illness?) The Surgeon General reported several research projects in 1999 to understand the perception of mental illnesses from the 1950s to the 1990s. “In the 1950s, the public did not distinguish mental illness from ordinary unhappiness and worry and ‘tended to see only extreme forms of behavior--namely psychosis--as mental illness’”, said the Surgeon General. He found that in 1996 a great scientific understanding of mental illness was known. Although the mental illness was more understood, the social stigma did not decrease. In conclusion, he found that the mentally ill is more feared by the public.

Progress has definitely been made in science regarding mental health, but we are still living in the past. Even though mental health issues affect many Americans yearly, there is still a strong social stigma attached to it. people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives(What Is the Main Cause of Stigma Against Individuals with Serious Mental Illness?).

Updated: May 19, 2021

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Explore Teen Suicide in The United States. (2020, Oct 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/explore-teen-suicide-in-the-united-states-essay

Explore Teen Suicide in The United States essay
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