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Teenage Suicide Essay, Research Paper

Teenage Suicide

Suicide is intentional self-inflicted acts that end in death(”Suicide,”

Compton’s). After a series of traumatic events, normal coping abilities can be

pushed over the edge; the result may be suicide. In each year, an average of

30,000 suicide deaths occur in the United States. It is estimated that 5,000 of

those suicides are committed by teenagers(SA\VE, 2). One major reason that the

suicide rate among teenagers is so high, is that the teenage years are a period

of commotion. New social roles are being learned, new relationships are being

developed, bodily changes are occurring, and decisions about the future are

being made during the teenage years.

Teenagers tend to commit suicide after large changes, significant losses,

or abuse has occurred in their lives. An important change in a relationship,

school or body image may contribute to a teenagers’ tendency to commit suicide.

The death of a loved one, the loss of a valued relationship, and the loss of

self esteem are some significant losses which might be a factor in teen

suicide(”The Real World [Suicide: Facts],” 1). Perceived abuse such as

physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, social abuse or neglect can lead to

self-murder(”Teen Suicide,” 3). Significant changes, losses, and abuse can

promote suicidal tendencies.

Few suicidal people have some type of depression, yet those who have one

can be provoked to commit suicide. There are two main types of depression

suffered by suicidal people(”Suicide,” {Grolier}). The first type is reactive

depression. This type of depression is the reaction of a difficult and often

traumatic experience. Endogenous depression is the second type of depression.

It is the result of a mental illness which is diagnosable by a professional.

Some suicidal people have a combination of both reactive depression and

endogenous depression. Others could have a depression which is undiagnosed. A

persistent sad mood, thoughts of suicide, persistent physical pains that do not

respond to treatment, difficulty concentrating, irritability and fatigue are

some symptoms of depression(American Psychiatric Association, 4). If a person

has four or more of the symptoms lasting for more than two weeks, that person

could have a type of depression. Those people with mental illnesses such as

schizophrenia and clinical depression have much higher suicide rates than

average(Tom Arsenault, 2).

Teenagers display warning signs of suicide. The indications come in two

ways. First exhibited are the early warning signs. These signs include

difficulties in school, depression, drug abuse, sleep and eating disturbances,

and a loss of interest in activities. Restlessness, feelings of failure,

overreaction to criticism, overly self-critical, anger, and a preoccupation with

death or Satan are also some signals teenagers contemplating suicide will

give(”Teen Suicide,” 3).

The other type of clues are late warning signs. Talking about death,

neglecting appearance, a feeling of hopelessness, a sudden improvement in

personality, and giving away possessions are some of the typical late warning

signs given by a suicidal teenager(”Teen Suicide,” 4). Not everyone who

portrays these symptoms is suicidal. In order to know if a person is really

thinking about committing suicide, someone needs to ask them. Offering other

ways to deal with a suicidal persons’ problems, may save their life. Most

teenagers contemplating suicide would not commit it, if they knew of another way

out. By talking with someone who is suicidal, that person might see that there

are people who love them.

Despite the efforts of people to stop a teenager from committing suicide,

some succeed. The statistics of considered and completed suicide are shocking.

Ten percent of teenage boys admit that they have attempted suicide. Girls in

their teens have a much higher percentage(eighteen percent), which will admit

that they unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide. A teenager in 1990 was twice

as likely to die from suicide than a teenager growing up in 1960. One of the

most startling teenage suicide facts is that since 1961, there has been a

tripling of completed teenage suicide(”The Real World [Suicide: Facts],” 1-3).

When a teenager is able to successfully commit suicide, they leave

behind family and friends. In a normal death situation, people usually feel

grief. When a teenager performs suicide, family and friends left behind

experience many feelings. A feeling of confusion and great distress over

unresolved issues is very common. Family members and friends often feel anger

and resentment after a suicide. These emotions can cause friends and family to

become very isolated feeling. A friend or family member may find that it is

difficult to relate to other people after a suicide. These people may decide

that other people view them as a failure because they were unable to stop

someone close to them from committing suicide. A fear of forming new

relationships after a person has completed suicide is common. People feel that

by creating new relationships, they might be hurt and experience the same pain

they are going through.

In order to help people who have experienced the suicide of someone they

deeply cared about, “survivor groups” have been created (”Suicide-Frequently

Asked Questions,” 6). Knowing they will be accepted without being judged or

condemned, helps a person go to a “survivor group.” At a meeting, the people’s

intense burden of unresolved feelings may be lessened.

Suicide is the third leading killer among teenagers(SA\VE-Suicide

Awareness\Voices of Education, 6). Suicide can be committed for a number of

reasons. Anyone who talks about suicide, should be taken to see a professional.

The most important way to prevent suicide is to talk.


American Psychiatric Association. “Teen Suicide.” APA

Joint Commission on Public Affairs and the Division

of Public Affairs. 1988. Pages 1-5.

Arsenault, Tom. “Did You Know?” http://www.save.org/

index.html//save@winternet.com. 1996. Pages 1-4.

“The Real World [Suicide: Facts].” http://www.paranois.

com/%7Ereal/suicide/facts.html. 1996. Pages 1-3.

SA\VE-Suicide Awareness\Voices of Education. http://www.

save.org. 1996. Pages 1-6.

“Suicide.” Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia.

Compton’s NewMedia, Inc. 1994.

“Suicide-Frequently Asked Questions.” Oxford University

Libraries Automation Service. http://www.lib.ox.


19 July 1996. Pages 1-8.

“Suicide.” Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia. Grolier

Electronic Publishing, Inc. 1995.

“Teen Suicide.” American Academy of Child and Adolescent

Psychiatry. 1996. Pages 1-5.

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