Teen Suicide In The Us Essay, Research Paper
Teen Suicide in the US
?Suicide is the third leading cause of deaths among people 15 to 24?? (16) Although lately the rate of suicide is beginning to level off, it has tripled since the 1950?s. The suicide rate varies with gender, race, sexuality, and environment. Males commit suicide four times more than females, yet females attempt suicide four times more than males. Concerning race, ?Statistics state that white males and females make up almost half of the suicides in the US, which is more than any other race.?(2) Homosexuals commit 30 percent of all suicides in the United States. Some one who commits suicide can have a deceiving environment. Most people believe teens that come from a poor home life would have the higher suicide rate, but research shows teens that come from wealthy homes and prestigious neighborhoods are more apt to commit suicide. Keep in mind that suicide among other races and environments do occur, just not as often as those stated above.
The popular belief of why this increase in suicide among teens is the pressures put on teens today that did not exist in the 1950?s. Teens are forced to juggle pressures on sex, school, huge expectations, and society?s opinion. Many teens feel that they are on the outside looking in when it comes to sex. They are torn between what society and communities think is right and what television, advertisements and radio tell them is right. School is also a great pressure for teens, especially for those who don?t do so well in academics. Society plays a big role in homosexual suicides. Homosexual teens use suicide as an escape from the constant disgust from what society thinks is proper and from what they feel is proper for them. As for expectations, the world in general has many expectations on the new generations. Some expect that the upcoming adults will be the destruction of all they have worked for, yet others put it on the new generations? shoulders the weight of many great things like medical cures or technology advancements. Teens feel this is too much to deal with and get away from this by ending their lives.
There are a couple of different types of suicide. The main on is just plain suicide. The person no longer wants to deal with life, so he/she does away with it. Next is called a suicide cluster. This is when, ??a group of suicides, suicide attempts, or both, that occur closer together than would normally be expected in a given community.? (6) When one teen commits suicide, this suddenly opens up a door to other vulnerable teens who have been either experiencing some of the danger signs of suicide or who have been considering suicide all together. The last is known as a suicide pact. This is when two or more people make a pact to commit suicide together. These people are usually friends and have a common reason for this decision, but are afraid to do it alone. Another scenario are teens in ??forbidden love, this romantic notion (stemming from the love story ?Romeo and Juliet) that death is the only way for them to be together, due to dividing forces.? (12)
There are many reasons that can not possibly be known, as to why a teen might want to commit suicide. However, the majority of the reasons that are known have been combined into six main groups which are stress and pressure, drugs and alcohol, mental illnesses, unloving and/or abusive parents, loneliness, and (believe it or not) curiosity. Stress, pressure, drugs, and alcohol are the most common among teens. These combined make any person feel hopeless and cloud their judgement. They just want to get away from all their pain. Next in line is mental illness. Their reasons are that, ??they don?t know any better or they know something?s wrong with them and feel they are a burden on their families, so they turn to suicide.? (9) Loneliness can leave a teen with no one to talk to or turn to with problems they have. They just bottle them up inside and think no one understands them. One day they can not take the alienation any longer and do something drastic like attempting suicide. Teens who live with abusive or even unloving parents tend to have an extremely low self-esteem. They feel insignificant in the world and believe that their life is not worth living. Lastly, and least common, is curiosity. Believe it or not, some teens just want to know what it is like to be dead and if there is really life after death. In the end, most suicides happen because these teenagers have one self conceived notion of no better solution.
It is important to be aware of the danger signs of suicide. ?8 out of 10 people who commit suicide give clues that they wanted to kill themselves.? (10) The danger signs of suicide are very similar to depression. Of course, the main sign of suicide is depression itself, which almost always leads to suicide. Others include: change in eating patterns, rebellious behavior, increased use of drugs and/or alcohol, changes in personality, dropping grades, and joking or talking about killing themselves. The person may not have all of these signs, but that does not eliminate them as being suicidal.
There are many ways a person can give or receive help with suicide. When giving help the most important thing to remember is to just ??be a friend and do not try and lecture the person on the ?evils? of suicide.? (3) If you detect that someone may be suicidal, ask him or her, then if they are, then encourage them to get help. Let the person know that you are there for them and that you support them. Do not keep it a secret, ??get help from someone whether it is a parent, friend, physician, clergy, crisis intervention or suicide prevention service.? (3) If you personally feel that you need help, remember that you do have options other than suicide. There are medical treatments that can help with the depression. There are also counselors and psychiatrists available at clinics that specialize in helping people with suicidal tendencies. The most popular of the options is a suicide hotline. Anyone can call and ask questions or just talk to someone and be understood. These are found to be quite effective in emergency situations. ?Most teens who are suicidal can work it out by talking or occasionally going on medication and go on to live long healthy lives.? (10)
?There is an 80% chance that someone who has attempted suicide will try to kill themselves again.? (10) This is a scary statistic. Imagine that your sibling or best friend attempted suicide, this means that they will most likely try again. Even worse imagine the next time?they succeed. Suicide and suicide attempts are devastating for family, friends, and even communities. Families and friends have to live everyday with the question ?why?? running through their heads (?Most people who commit suicide do not leave a note.? (15)). This event also leaves family and friends more acceptable to attempting suicide themselves. People often think that families who have experienced such a tragedy that they do not want to talk about it?this is usually wrong. In most cases, they need to talk about it in order for them to be able to move on. One example is a true story of a girl and her twin sister who committed suicide. ?Often times I think that I want to give up like Sara did, and join her?but now I know that, with the help of my family and friends, I must move on with out her by my side.? (1) When a suicide is committed, the community feels the impact just as much as close family and friends. There is automatic worry of a suicide cluster. They usually try and prevent this ?cluster? by setting up emergency suicide prevention services around the community.
Suicide does not start with one person, nor does it end with one person. It starts with a community and ends with a community. I think that communities should put a greater importance on this issue before the suicide happens. There are so many easy things that can be done to save someone?s life; all it takes is compassion and action from the community. I learned different facts that I had never known before my research. I found out that firearms were the number one weapons used in suicide by 61%, distantly followed by hanging and strangulation at 14.5%. I always thought that overdosing on pills would be really high on the scale. I was also shocked to find that most people do not leave notes when they commit suicide. It just goes to show you how much television can influence someone?s beliefs. ?People who kill themselves don?t really want to die, they just want to get away from the pain.? (10) This means that they could probably be easily persuaded by comforting and supportive words. Keep your eyes open and if you see someone in need, do not ignore them?be a friend.
1. *Bartok, Susan. ?My Twin Sister Committed Suicide? Teen, January 1999.
2. Gelman, David. ?The Mystery of Suicide? Newsweek, April 18 1994. Pg.44-49.
3. Hanners, David. ?Suicide and the Golden Years? (St. Paul, Minn.) St. Paul Pioneer Press. August 14,1994.
4. Marbella, Jean. ?Teen Suicide Can Spread Like Infection? (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) Sun-Sentinel. April 13, 1989.
5. Nelson, Margaret. ?A Reason to Live? Teen People, November 1998. Pg. 68-71.
6. Worsnop, Richard L. ?Teenage Suicide? CQ Researcher, June 14,1991.
7. ?History or the Suicide Problem in Gay Communities? http://www.qrd.org./qrd/www/youth/tremblay/history.html
8. ?How to Deal With A Suicide? http://library.advanced.org/12333/page7.html
9. ?Mental Illness Factor in Suicides? (Scottsdale, Arizona) Scottsdale Progress Tribune. May 7, 1994
10. ?Some Facts You May Want to Know? http://library.advanced.org/12333/page5.html
11. ?Those Most At Risk? http://library.advanced.org/12333/page3.html
12. ?Teen Suicide? http://www.psych.org/public_info/TEENAG~1.HTM
13. ?Teen Suicide? www.cmhc.com./factfam/suicide.htm
14. ?Teen Suicide, An Epidemic of the 90?s? http://library.advanced.org/12333/page2.html
15. ?Teen Suicide Fact Sheet? http://www.pflag.org/pom/teen.html
16. ?Why are Teens Killing Themselves?? www.cmhc.com/Why?/teensuicide.htm