Teenage Suicide Analytical Essay

Subject: 💭 Psychology
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 8
Word count: 2078
Topics: Suicide, Stress, Teenage Suicide, ⏳ Social Issues
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Suicide is the action of taking one’s life. Teenage suicide is the act of a teenager taking his or her life. Suicide among children is rare, but it increases when children approach adolescence. There is an endless discussion about what are the primary causes of teenage suicide and what can be done to prevent such cases. This essay aims to discuss primary factors contributing to increasing of death by teenagers, especially as adolescents.

The points of debate on this topic include; factors which contribute to teenage suicides in adolescence, parent’s relationship with their teenage children, and teenagers as a whole.

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Research Questions

This issue is full, and research questions are necessary. Question one: what ages are teenagers likely to consider suicide? Between boys and girls, who is mostly affected? Question two: what are the leading causes of suicide deaths in teens? Question three: What are parent’s thoughts on this issue? Find out if they feel guilty for increased number of fatalities or how do they handle it. Question four: What are schools responses to teenage suicides? What measures are they taking to ensure the kids grow up knowing how to deal with issues arising in their adolescent stage?

Keywords

Teenagers, suicide, bullying, school, parents, family, relationships, domestic violence, depression, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, failure, child abuse, sexuality, mental illness.

Annotated Bibliography

Harrington, Richard. “Depression, Suicide And Deliberate Self-Harm In Adolescence.” British Medical Bulletin, vol 57, no. 1, 2001, pp. 47-60. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/bmb/57.1.47.

In the article “Depression, suicide and deliberate self-harm in adolescence,” Richard, H. examine the relation between depression and suicide behavior in adolescents. According to Richard, there is a linear relationship between causes and outcomes. He further states that all depressed and suicidal teenagers require careful assessment. Some of these teenagers will require brief intervention while others require more intensive and lengthy forms of treatment.

Unlike other articles, the author has assessed depression in teenagers and its management on various levels. He has further assessed deliberate self-harm and what happens after a teenager has harmed oneself. His detailed information on immediate and subsequent risks of deliberate self-harm and suicide helps address the management of teenagers who find themselves in these acts.

Cash, Scottye J, and Jeffrey A Bridge. “Epidemiology Of Youth Suicide And Suicidal Behavior.” Current studies In Pediatrics, vol 21, no. 5, 2009, pp. 613-619. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi:10.1097/mop.0b013e32833063e1.

In the article “Epidemiology of youth suicide and suicidal behavior” the authors examine development in understanding the epidemiology and risk factors for suicidal behavior and suicide. Scottye and Jeffrey conducted a PubMed search for all English articles published between January 2007 and May 2009. Through their research, they discovered that in the US, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in the youth are high with 14.5 percent of the 9th to 12th-grade students. “In 2006, which was the latest year for which data are available, the suicide rate among youth was age- adjusted to 10-19 years. The statistic was 4.16 per 100,000 persons making suicide the 3rd leading cause of death in the age group.” (CDC). The researchers further examine causes of death in the youth with a particular focus on epidemiological, psychiatric, psychological and environmental factors.

Unlike other articles, this article contains data analyzed through graphs based on the data collected within the stated year. These findings can be used by a clinician to help develop a more comprehensive understanding of young adults suicide risk factors which may promote early assessment hence reducing future risk of suicidal behaviors and poor mental health outcomes.

Teenage Suicide

Suicide is a public health problem all over the world. In the United States alone, in approximation, 30,000 people commit suicide, and worldwide it counts for 1 million inhabitants making it among the leading causes of death (Satcher, D).  Teenage suicide has increased over the years. The center for disease control and prevention (CDC) and the National Mental Health Association (NHMA) agree that it is the third leading cause of adolescent death and the second cause among college students. The American Psychological Association says that teenage suicide is preventable (Crouse, Janice).

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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the ages categorized for teenage suicide are 15-24-year-olds. They further state that for every completed teen suicide, there are at least twenty-five attempts. Data collected from research conducted at Columbia University Medical Center, published in APAM, attributes various factors for boys’ or girls’ suicides. Eight thousand students in New York City high schools participated in this research in the year 2005. Males attributed a lifetime history of sexual assault as a leading contributor to suicide attempts while females it is recent dating violence. The research led by Dr. Elyse Olshen reported that girls abused by a boyfriend mostly physically are 60 percent liable to attempt suicide than those who haven’t. Men who suffer sexual abuse for a longer time are likely to consider committing suicide. According to KidsHealth, Girls think about and attempt suicide twice as often as boys. Girls tend to try suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. Boys think about suicide four times as often girls because they use more lethal methods in attempting suicide. Boys would use firearms, jumping from heights or hanging themselves.

Teenage suicide has no one distinctive cause. Various issues affect teenagers especially as they step into adolescence and they react and deal with these matters differently. Many researchers have been trying to dig deep into this issue so as to find out leading causes of teenage suicide. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) through their research has come up with different factors that might be the main contributors. The contributing factors may include; alcohol, substance abuse, depression, disruptive behavior, unplanned pregnancy, family loss, and instability. Through their research, 53 percent of young people who are substance abusers commit suicide. Dr. David Sheslow, a pediatric psychologist, is quoted in KidsHealth saying that drugs and alcohol are leading causes of death in teens. Any teen who is suicidal as reported, feel alone, hopeless, rejected, humiliation, trauma such as poor grades, break up with boyfriend or girlfriend, parent’s divorce or separation and feel vulnerable especially when they have experienced a loss.

An article of a young mother who found his 11-year-old son in his bedroom who overdosed by taking painkillers featured on the daily mail. The mother was aware of the attempts bullies tried on his son by strangling him with his tie and pocking him. She thought the bullying would have stopped when the son got to high school, but it continued. Every day the son told his mom how the bullies got to him. The school said that they did not have records of any reported incidents by the student and it was sad that things got to that point (Tozer, James).  Bullying of students in school does contribute to suicide attempts. KidsHealth says that any teen with the support of family, friends, peer groups, religious affiliations may have a way to deal with day to day frustrations that teenagers face. A teen lacking this support often feels isolated and disconnected from family and peer. Such teens suffer a high risk of suicide.

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Suicide feelings are considered to be a mental disorder. Suicide attempt among women is a result of the significant impact of child abuse. This finding is according to the American Academy of Pediatrics in their publication on preventing teen suicide. Divorced parents have different work schedules and limited family life hence they are less involved as parents to their teen children. Reports indicate that 90 percent of suicidal teenagers feel like parents do not understand them.

Sexuality is how a person expresses oneself as a sexual being. Studies have discovered that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than heterosexuals (Christopher, Bagley and Tremblay Pierre). LGBT teens and younger adults have one of the highest rates of suicide attempts (Shapiro, J.)

A study recently conducted found that poor or fair academic performance increased the risk of suicidal attempts and thoughts in Korean adolescents (Kang, Eun-Ho et al.) Another study associated higher IQ with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts in young males (Chang, Shu-Sen et al.). Students always feel the pressure to get good grades in school so that parents are not disappointed. The students many times are forced to do whatever it takes to maintain good grades in school so that no scolding happens at home for under-performing.

The amount of time a teenager spends in school or at home may have a pervasive influence.  Neighborhood and schools affect the mental health of kids (Aneshensel, Carol S., and Clea A. Sucoff). How young people see themselves and their local physical and social neighborhood is related to several mental health outcomes (Sellström, Eva and Sven Bremberg). Young adolescents do not find it easy to describe their feelings hence they end up having confused emotions such as sadness and anger.  Interviewing a young teenager by himself or herself is a better strategy for obtaining information about depression. Inquiring from the third party like parents or teachers may not be effective as parents will use behavioral difficulties to account for symptoms related to the child. It is not easy to diagnose depression. Many young people do not know if they are facing it.

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Parents have a huge role to play in ensuring their children are safe. It is a fact that most parents have longer working hours or have to work two or three jobs so as to make ends meet but their kid’s safety should be a priority as well. No parent would love to lose a child. Parents can take simple measures in ensuring children at home are safe by; monitoring all medications at home. Teens “trade” prescription medication at school and carry them or store them in their backpack. Overdosing using over-the-counter, prescription and non-prescription drugs is a joint suicide attempt and complete method (“About Teen Suicide”)

Parents with firearms at home should ensure that they are unloaded, locked, and kept out of reach of teens and children. In the United States, 60 percent of all suicides are committed with a gun at home (“About Teen Suicide”)

Once a parent is aware that the child is experiencing bullying at his or her school, it is the parent’s responsibility to take charge and involve the relevant authorities to prevent things from going to an extreme. It is not easy for a young teen to open up about challenges they are facing unless they feel supported and wanted. Creating a safe heaven for you and your child will promote openness, and this will come in handy when the child is dealing with issues that he or she does not know how to address.

Educating the public including fellow teenagers on suicide, its causes and how to prevent it may help further tragedies. Being informed about this will contribute to taking action in assisting a troubled youth. Immediately family and friends are always in shock when one of their own takes his or her life. Many times they are always left wondering if they could have done something to prevent the person from committing suicide.

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Schools ought to take care of kids left in their care by the parents. It is up to the school’s administration to ensure all children grow together in harmony while doing what brought them to school. When a pupil gains the courage to report a case to a teacher, it is up to the teacher to ensure dealing of the matter is as soon as possible. Laws should be put in place to make sure that anyone who breaks it should be dealt with accordingly. Putting strict measures in place will help perpetrators avoid the bad habits they develop over time like bullying and humiliating others.

Conclusion

It is clear that teenagers experience a lot of bodily changes during adolescence. As parents, no matter how busy one gets, you should always create time to bond with your child. This bonding will help them feel wanted and loved. It will, therefore, be easy for a child to talk to you as the parent and from that, you can get to find out any challenges your kid is facing either at home or in school. This will help in preventing extents young adults go to avoid dealing with emerging issues. Support from family and friends will help the children know who to run to when they need someone to talk too.

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  1. “About Teen Suicide”. Kidshealth.Org, 2017, Aneshensel, Carol S. and Clea A. Sucoff.
  2. “The Neighborhood Context Of Adolescent Mental Health”. Journal Of Health And Social Behavior, vol 37, no. 4, 1996, p. 293. SAGE Publications, doi:10.2307/2137258.
  3. Crouse, Janice. “Articles: Sad Truths About Teen Suicide”. Americanthinker.Com, 2014,
  4. Cash, Scottye J and Jeffrey A Bridge. “Epidemiology Of Youth Suicide And Suicidal Behavior”. Current Opinion In Pediatrics, vol 21, no. 5, 2009, pp. 613-619. Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health), doi:10.1097/mop.0b013e32833063e1.
  5. Christopher, Bagley and Tremblay Pierre. “Elevated Rates Of Suicidal Behavior In Gay, Lesbian, And Bisexual Youth”. Crisis: The Journal Of Crisis Intervention And Suicide Prevention, 21 (3), 2000, pp. 111-117.
  6. Chang, Shu-Sen et al. “IQ And Adolescent Self-Harm Behaviours In The ALSPAC Birth Cohort”. Journal Of Affective Disorders, 152-154, 2014, pp. 175-182. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.09.005.
  7. Harrington, Richard. “Depression, Suicide And Deliberate Self-Harm In Adolescence”. British Medical Bulletin, vol 57, no. 1, 2001, pp. 47-60. Oxford University Press (OUP), doi:10.1093/bmb/57.1.47.
  8. Kang, Eun-Ho et al. “Twelve-Month Prevalence And Predictors Of Self-Reported Suicidal Ideation And Suicide Attempt Among Korean Adolescents In A Web-Based Nationwide Survey”. Australian & New Zealand Journal Of Psychiatry, vol 49, no. 1, 2015, pp. 47-53. SAGE Publications,
  9. Satcher, D. “Public Health Service. Suicide And Public Health”. Public Health Reports, vol 114, no. 2, 1999, pp. 198-199. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1093/phr/114.2.198.
  10. Shapiro, J. “Tolerance Can Lower Gay Kids’ Suicide Risk.”  All Things ConsideredNational Public Radio, 2008.
  11. Sellström, Eva and Sven Bremberg. “The Significance Of Neighbourhood Context To Child And Adolescent Health And Well‐Being: A Systematic Review Of Multilevel Studies”. Scandinavian Journal Of Public Health, vol 34, no. 5, 2006, pp. 544-554. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1080/14034940600551251.
  12. Tozer, James. “Boy ‘Driven To Suicide By Bullies'”.
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