Teenage Suicide

Teenage Suicide

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Teenage Suicide

     The killing of own life intentionally is referred as suicide. Over the
past years, American society has been concerned about this issue, especially
teenage suicide. The suicide rate among teenagers is not constant for a period
of time; it keeps changing over time. Most of the time, the suicide rate among
boys is greater than that among girls.
     Different types of people in our society respond to this issue in
different ways. Earlier in this year, some 932 parents of adolescents completed
a questionnaire of 30 common psychological medical concerns of adolescence,
among which suicide was one item. They were asked how important it is for
pediatricians to discuss these with their kids during checkups. The result
showed that more than 66% of the parents being questioned said 29 of the 30
items were important to be discussed with their teenage children. This survey
showed that American parents are somehow concerned about suicide among teenagers.
This concern is pervasive among American teenagers. In 1993, a national survey
of adolescents about their knowledge of, and attitudes toward, youth suicide was
made. The survey reulted that 60% of the teenagers reported knowing another
teen who had attempted suicide while 6% reported having make an attempt
     The above two examples indicates that it is very important for parents,
counselors, or different institutions to become aware of the reasons and
symptons of teenage suicide and to find out possible preventive procedures.
Recently, an examination of suicide rates among Black and White adolescents from
1986 to 1991 was made. It showed that suicide rate among girls of all
ethnicities remained stable. Also, the rate for White boys were pretty much
stabilized; however, the rate for Black and other minority boys increased
significantly. Those increases were more rapid in areas where suicide rates
were historically low. This phenomenon tells that there are various kinds of
reasons for suicide and different types of methods for suicide are also being
     During the late 1970s and early 1980s in Oxford, the rate of deliberate
self-poisoning and self-injury in older female teenagers declined, but it
increased again between 1986 and 1989. For male adolescents, self-poisoning
with minor tanquillizers and sedatives had declined, but paracetamol self-
poisoning increased in that period. In Zimbabwe, young women during 1970s used
poison as the method of suicide; however, self-immolation was frequently being
used in the mid 1980s.
     There are various types of reasons why teenagers commit suicide. Suicide
in teenagers is sometimes linked to, or in relation with, vision therapy. It
was argued that an inadequate level of concentration or short attention span of
a patient is a common cause for the academic, personality, and behavioral

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symptoms. Therefore, unless treated well, these symptoms might lead to
committing suicide.
     The reasons for gay, lesbian, or bisexual adolescents committing suicide
are a little different than other teenagers. Research shows that gay, lesbian,
or bisexual teenagers often lack peer support and positive role models, and
therefore, find it difficult to establish a positive adolescent identity. As a
result, a large number of them suffer from psychological dysfunction, running
away, droping out of school, prostitution, violence, AIDS or other sexually
transmitted diseases. Eventually, these dangerous behaviors sometimes lead them
to suicide.
     Teenagers may also want to commit suicide if they are sexually or
physically molested for a certain period of time. In 1992, data from 352
pregnant adolescents (aged 12-19) were collected, in which 80 acknowledged
having been physically or sexually abused, and 40 admitted to having suicidal
ideation or actions. In 1994, two cases of Italian teenagers who had attempted
suicide were discussed and compared. The suicide attempt of a 17-year old
female is traced to masochistic impulses based on a sense of guilt, while that
of a 18-year old male is explained by a narcissistic neurosis stemming from a
sense of shame.
     A panal formed by national medical and educational associations issued a
report in 1993, which painted a dire picture of the state of adolescent health.
The analysis of the report presented youth problems, including social and
emotional problems, school performance, drug use, drinking and driving, violence
in school, pregnancy, crime, etc. as common reasons for and characteristics of a
teen's self-destructive nature, which eventually leads him or her to suicide.
     In Canada, researches were made to figure out the reasons for teenage
suicide. It showed lack of moral parental support, an over-permissive
educational climate, and doubtful economic prospects as placing pressures on the
fragile ego and the still-unformed identity of teenagers. In this situation,
some react with drug abuse, dilinquency, or compulsively sought scholastic
achievement, while others, unable to cope with these psychological pressures,
commit suicide. Sometimes, there is a relationship between network TV news
stories and subsequent suicides. For example, some teenagers (also adults) may
react deeply to a sudden news presented, and eventually, it might cause them to
commit suicide.
     During the past two decades, the incidence of suicide and suicide
attempts among U.S. gifted students has steadily increased. There are many
reasons for these suicides. In addition to the usual stressors, gifted
teenagers also confront such issues as perfectionism, societal expectation to
achieve, differential development of intellectual and social skills, and
impotence to effect real-world change. These kinds of difficulties sometimes
make the gifted teenagers to commit suicide.
     Another one of the most important reasons for teenage suicide is
depression. Depression can occur due to various factors. A survey in 1990
showed that depression has a strong correlation with suicidal preoccupation than
shyness, allienation, or academic performance. Also, reports said that chronic
self-destructiveness in teenagers is related to depression and suicidal
preoccupation. Both chronic self-destructiveness and depression are associated
with suicidal ideation.
     Since teenage suicide has been a burning issue, it is important to take
efforts to prevent such an incident. Recently, a review of a literature
indicated a need for suicide awareness and prevention programs for the early
identification of teenagers at risk for suicidal behaviors. In this case, the
most logical and appropriate location for suicide prevention programs and
activities is in the schools where the greatest numbers can be reached. Since
the issue is involved with teenagers, high schools are the best place to set
prevention programs. Therefore, in a joint effort, school personnel and the
master's-prepared psychiatric mental health nurse specialists may be able to
decrease significantly the number of suicidal behaviors among adolescents.
     Teenage suicide can also be reduced by properly treating adolescents
with learning disabilities (LDs). In general, those with non-verbal LDs
eventually attempt suicide at some point than those without LDs. Therefore,
optometrists should be aware of patients with learning disabilities and refer
them to mental health professionals when indications of depression is observed.
In this way, many teenagers can be prevented from committing suicide.
     A few years ago, the American Academy of Child Psychiatry identified
some warning signals indicating possible suicide such as: changes in eating and
sleeping habits, violent or rebellious behaviors, etc. In these kinds of
situations, counselors can play a vital role for preventing suicide in teenagers.
Most of the time, counselors are the first professionals confronted with
symptoms or threats of suicide. They can apply coping techniques, which include
anxiety reduction, creating hope, and improving adolescents' communication
skills to reduce the risk of suicide. In 1991, a journal stated some risk
factors for suicide to which prevention procedures can rationally be directed.
Suicide prevention interventions include hotline and crisis services, school-
based educational and screening procedures, effective treatment of suicide
attempts, and minimizing opportunities for suicide. These methods may become
helpful in preventing teenage suicide.
     It is sometimes very difficult to eliminate a crisis completely from the
society. Likewise, teenage suicide is also not quite easy to wipe out from the
American society. However, people in general, parents of adolescents, teachers,
counselors, and other kinds of social workers can work together to fight against
teenage suicide.
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