Teenage Suicide

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Teenage suicide has become a critical, national problem the extent of which is mind boggling. From 1980 to 1992 the rate of suicides involving persons from the ages of 10-14 years old has increased by 120 percent, and has increased 28.3 percent when involving persons from the ages of 15-19 years old (Suicide 451). More recently in a poll of 3,210 high-school honor students, a stunning one-quarter have seriously considered suicide (Eaton 15). Suicides have been proven to be one of the leading causes of death among teens, falling second only to accidents (Roberts 45). This data, however, may be inaccurate, being that deaths labeled accidental may have actually been teen suicides. Also, many families may not want to report suicides or suicide attempts for the fear of embarrassment. Nevertheless, there is extensive proof that suicide attempts and/or successes are on the rise among teenagers, and numerous groups have devoted themselves to establishing a cause to this epidemic. The one similarity that all of these different groups seem to agree on is that there is not one single theory that explains the growing phenomenon of teenage suicide. However, a number of factors seem to be common among “at-risk teens,” factors that, if given the right set of circumstances, could put them in jeopardy.
One of and seemingly the most common of these factors is depression. According to the National Association for

Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of those who receive care for

depression in hospitals and clinics are under the age of eighteen (Leder 31). Everyone has different reasons for being depressed and the extent of that depression will also vary from person to person. Some common causes of depression that have been found to lead to suicide attempts are not feeling loved and/or understood, the feeling of rejection, trouble with friends and family, or the feeling of being “no good.” A loss, (as in the death of a loved one, divorce, or the breakup up with a boyfriend/girlfriend) Has also been found to link depression and suicide (Leder 34).
Psychologists and doctors have also realized that having numerous psychological problems, known as “conduct disorders,” causes teens to have impulsive behavior. This impulsive behavior can cause them to act violent...

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... a sense of identity is often pretty shacked and fragile during adolescence, feelings of not being worth much in one’s parents eyes won’t help a young person’s self-esteem. In extreme cases the adolescent may look upon himself, as being despicable and worthless, and learn to hate himself, when he is unable able to reach their goals (Hafen 95). The Youth Suicide National Center feels that “few of them [adolescents] have found ways of dealing with the lack of self esteem and when these feelings overwhelm them, they believe there is something very wrong with them.” (qtd. in Hafen 23).
After reading numerous books and articles, the plain, but simple truth is that no one knows exactly why teenagers

kill themselves. Psychiatrists have, however, reached the conclusion that in a society where adolescents have been exposed to many adult pressures and stresses, they may not be able to cope. Some of the most common causes of stress revolve around family situations, social problems, depression, developmental factors, and other factors associated with adolescents. It is this unbearable stress that leads them to the act of suicide.

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