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Suicide Essay, Research Paper

Everyday 700 people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four attempt suicide. An estimated 5,000 teens a year commits suicide in the United States. This makes suicide the second leading cause of death for teens in our country. Many of these suicides appear like accidents. Suicide is a great problem in America. (McGuire, 1990)

Suicide has a terrible affect on families. It is very hard for anyone to get over the loss of a person, especially a young person. Statistics show that parents that loose a child split up within five years. The community in which a suicide victim lived is also affected; this includes friends and strangers. The teacher of Alicia Hayes, who committed suicide in May of 1996, noticed changes in her behavior and today is feeling very guilty because she did not do anything about it. Most people, including Alicia’s teachers and family, will never fully get over a suicide. (Kolehmainen, Handwerk, 1986)

Suicide has been around for a long time. The first written account of suicide was about 4,000 years ago in Egypt. Eskimos once practiced suicide to provide food during times when there was none. During World War II Japanese Kamikaze pilots crashed into enemy targets, this was considered honorable. Greeks and Romans believed suicide was okay. However, Hebrew’s and Christians prohibit suicide, it is considered murder. Catholics believe that suicide “contradicts the natural inclination of humans to preserve bodies.” (Hyde, 1986; The Catechism of the Catholic Church.)

Many different types of people attempt suicide. Often teens that are considered ‘perfect’ are so pre-occupied with achieving approval of ‘other people’s goals’. ‘Rebels’ cover up their feelings with anger and bullying. Drug users try to escape their pain through drugs. All of these people may end up feeling empty inside, which could result in depression then suicide. (Hyde, 1986)

There are many reasons for someone to commit suicide. One is to get relief from an intolerable state of mind or situation. Another is to make everyone see they are desperate. A new trend is to show how much they love someone. Or they are just miserable and nothing can change that. Suicide attempts are not hereditary. A dramatic event that threatens their happiness is often a cause. Strong demands are put on teens today that may cause depression. A parent loosing a job or a poor economic situation may cause much stress. (Hyde, 1986; McGuire, 1990)

Pregnancy may cause intolerable pressure that may also end in suicide. Sexual abuse by a family member could lead to various mental problems. In a recent interview ‘Jane Doe’ said that she tried to commit suicide because she was severely depressed about being sexually abused by her stepfather. Not fitting in at school or with friends is another stressful experience on teens. Puberty brings on many emotions that some are not ready for. Almost everyone needs a close friend to share his or her feelings, hopes, and dreams. Some people have trouble developing or keeping relationships. (McGuire, 1990; Doe, 1997)

In today’s society models, with ‘perfect’ bodies, are young girls idols. Not seeing yourself as ‘perfect’ can cause a lack of self-esteem. Everyone must love himself or herself to survive. Anger turned inward can bottle up then someday will explode. Teens need a release from anger; no one can keep it locked away for long. Exercise and better communication with parents could relieve anger and stress caused by anger. (McGuire, 1990)

Stress is a big problem with teens today. Teens today have different problems, some parents are getting divorces and some teens feel it is their fault. Teens also have so many pressures like sex and smoking. Someone needs to reach teens and help them in their struggles. Better stress programs in high school will relieve the hard transition from middle school to high school. To prevent more suicides, we should have better impact counseling. This could have prevented the deaths of two California teens in 1996. (Kolehmainen, Handwerk 1986; Time, 1996)

Drugs are also a big problem; teens are constantly faced with them in the media, music, and even movies. A large percentage of youth suicide victims were drug abusers before their deaths, some think this may be a trigger. America needs more graphic programs that show children what drugs can do to a human. (Hyde, 1986)

Depression is a worldwide problem. Twenty-five percent of the population will suffer depression at some time. When someone is depressed they are faced with feelings of guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Often, disturbance in sleep and eating habits are experienced also. (Microsoft Encarta 96 Encyclopedia, 1993-95)

There are ways to prevent and notice suicidal behavior to prevent the pain of suicide on families. If someone is considering suicide tell an adult and talk about his or her feelings. Do not let it pass, not doing anything could cause more harm. If someone quits talking about suicide it doesn’t mean they will not do it, it most likely means they have already decided to commit suicide. (Hyde, 1986)

There are eight warning signs. Knowing these may help others save someone’s life so people can prevent teen suicides together. The best way to prevent suicide is to know about it. (Hyde, 1986)

1. Previous suicide attempts.

2. Talks or thinks about committing suicide.

3. Changes in personality or mood.

4. Changes in sleeping or eating habits.

5. Withdraws from friends or family.

6. Taking unusual risks.

7. Drug abuse.

8. Final arrangements, giving away prized possessions and making peace with friends. (Hyde, 1986)

“My message is to love your kids as much as you can, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.” Said Marty Hernandez after his daughter Amber committed suicide with a friend. “It was dumb… they didn’t get a chance to live.” Michelle Williams said, after two friends of hers committed suicide. (Time, 1996)

Families must be unafraid to seek professional help. Teachers must also take all signs of depression seriously. Failure is not permanent and children must be taught that. Suicide, however, is permanent. Humans are not immortal, even though some people might think so. (Time, 1996)

Blair once said, “Our time is fixed, and all our days are numbered; how long, how short, we know not: this we know; Duty requires we calmly wait the summons, nor dare to stir till Heaven shall give permission.” (The book of Quotations For All Occasions, 1956)

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