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Teenage suicide

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 themselves.

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

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


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


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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