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Written Speech On Teen Suicide Essay, Research Paper

Imagine you’re standing atop a high bridge, you take a deep breath, say one

last silent goodbye to your friends and family, and you leap to your death.

By doing this, you’re making a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

You may be solving your own personal problem, but imagine the pain, suffering,

and anguish that your friends, family, and peers go through. The people

around you are wondering what was going through your mind and why

you did it. Maybe you even told some of your friends that you were

going to do it, and they didn’t believe you, thinking it were a joke.

You may have told your friends about your plans, but apparently

your parents had no clue as to why you would choose to take

your life, but this is the case with most teenage suicides.

A lot of the time the parents don’t have any clue that

there was anything wrong in their children’s lives, and also the

teen’s friends might have had some kind of clue, but they didn’t

do anything about it. Overall, they are left grieving their dead

child or friend who took their own life away without any explanation.

Sadly, teen suicide occurs nearly 5,000 times each year. Even more

amazing is that 400,000 to 2 million teens attempt to commit suicide

each year. Psychologists and therapists, teachers and school couslers,

leaders of youth groups, and researchers who study society and young

people have come up with a list of reasons as to why the teen decided to

kill themselves. The list of culprits is long: too much divorce, too little

religion, too much television, and too little communication between parents

and children have been blamed. Absent parents, too much sexual freedom,

widespread use of drugs and alcohol, too many guns, not enough love, and

a world that seems hostile has also been blamed for pushing young people

to their deaths. All these reasons have probably contributed to the suicides

of teens, but none of them provide the final explanation as to what pushes

the kids over the edge and why they choose to die. Maybe it?s the peer

pressure, or the painful reality of growing up in a time in your life where

it’s important to be accepted by your peers. Or maybe the teen is in a condition

of extreme guilt or shame, they could be pregnant or might think they are pregnant

and are ashamed to tell their parents. But the most concrete reason Psychologists

say there is, is the severe depression some teens go through. They might have an

extremely bad day or week when nothing seems to go right. Psychiatrists cite certain

factors that often lead to depression; they include new surroundings, family problems,

failure, the ending of a relationship, or death. And in some cases there seem to be no

reasons at all. Just like the case of an African-American male named Todd Robinson,

who was in the lower risk category for suicide. According to statistics, on any given

day, only five African-American men can be expected to take their lives. On July 7,

1987 Todd became one of those men. He shot himself in the head in his room. His

parents didn’t expect anything. He just graduated from high school, had a bright

future ahead of him, and didn’t really have any physical or emotional problems.

Even after they looked through his journal there wasn’t really any clue, but his

last entry read “Lately the thought of suicide has crossed my mind. I don’t know

why. I have a wonderful family and friends. I have an excellent future ahead of

me. But I’m going to do it. Mom, Dad, don’t fall apart.” Sometimes there is just

no explanation, again there really is no telling what goes on in kids minds as they

contemplate taking their lives.

The Centers for Disease Control report that between 1980 and 1993 the suicide rate has

risen 120% for 10-14 year olds, and for 15-19 year olds it has risen almost 30%. Also,

between 1970 and 1980 one out of every six Americans who committed

suicide was a young person between the ages of 15 and 24. Studies in California and

Kansas report that about one out of every ten teens questioned admitted to having

attempted suicide.

Right now you are probably wondering WHO could be stupid enough to try and commit

suicide? Psychologists say that there is no such thing as a “typical” suicidal personality.

But most suicides are committed by white males from middle-class homes. The

suicide rate for whites is nearly twice as high as it is for nonwhites. Yet, statistics

say that African-Americans attempt suicide more often than people of other races,

they simply do not succeed as often. And among Native American youths, the number

of suicides has tripled during the last 20 years. Studies also show that 25-30% of gay

and lesbian youth attempt suicide. While there is no “typical” suicidal personality,

experts say victims do share some common traits: the following is a list of traits from

Eleanor Ayer’s book Teen Suicide Is It Too Painful to Grow Up?

First is Low self-esteem. People who feel good about themselves, their personality,

the way they look, have high self-esteem. But those who have a negative opinion of

themselves, think they have no place in the world, feel inferior to others, have low

self-esteem. Often, there is no basis for low self-esteem. Talented, good looking,

kind, intelligent people often suffer from it.

Next, Loneliness. Lonely people are among the highest risks for suicide. Loneliness

is a feeling of not being accepted by others, whether by one’s classmates, one’s parents,

or other adults. Some teenagers isolate themselves with drugs or alcohol. Some have

a disability or are made to feel different for religious or racial relations. Some just

never perform close friendships.

Third, Difficulty expressing emotions. People who can let off steam easily when

under stress generally are those who do NOT attempt suicide. Instead, it is the

person who lets anger or sorrow build up inside, the one who is afraid to cry when

he or she is sad, who is in danger. Teenagers who are unable to express their feelings

often think of themselves as being emotionally dead, which leads to thoughts of

being physically dead as well.

Fourth, Easily angered. Some teenagers become angry easily and are quick to fight.

These people lack self-control. It is hard for them to react calmly or logically in a

different situation.

Fifth, Perfectionism. People should always try to do their best. But a teenager’s

need to be perfect is all consuming, perfectionism is no longer healthy. Often,

perfectionists are very intelligent, even gifted teenagers. But they set such high

standards for themselves that they are never able to meet them. When they fail,

they become frustrated, depressed, and sometimes suicidal.

Sixth, Pessimism. For pessimists the world is a trap, waiting to spring its jaws

shut. Teenagers who have a pessimistic view of the world are more likely to

try suicide. They see little hope for succeeding or for solving their problems.

More than 30,000 people a year, 5,000 of that number are teens, kill themselves in

the United States. Friends and family members are always shocked saying they had

no idea. But if you look close enough, listen hard, and dig deeper under the surface

you will be able to see and hear some of the common warning signs. List courtesy

of Eleanor Ayer’s book Teen Suicide Is It too Painful to Grow Up?

The first is Excessive talk of death Severely depressed teens often dwell on death.

They may say things like, “I wonder what it’s like to be dead? What happens to your

mind when your heart stops?” Often they show great interest in any news story or

conversation that involves death.

Threat of Suicide. A young person in distress may threaten “If I don’t do well on

these finals, I’m going to kill myself.” Sometimes the statement is less direct like

“I wish I’d never been born,” or “You’d be better off if I weren’t here.”

Acting up. It is normal and expected for most teenagers to object to authority.

Adolescence is a time for developing independence, for breaking away from parental

control. But when a young person is continually wild and unruly, the problem may be

more serious.

No concern for personal appearance. Most teens want to have clothes, shoes, and hair,

that is “in” When a teenager cares little about his appearance, it could be a way of saying,

“Why should I care? I’m not good anyhow”.

Lack of interest. If a teenager begins to lose interest in friends, hobbies, sports,

or school, he or she may be losing interest in life. Long periods of sitting and staring

into space or sleeping during the day can be signs of serious depression.

Getting rid of personal items. When people give away the things that mean the most

to them, they may be putting their lives in final order, getting ready for the end.

Prolonged sadness or crying. Extreme moodiness and depression can be signs of a

meaningless and empty life. With these moods come tears, silent sobbing, or a continually

sad look. Moody teens rarely smile and never laugh. Life no longer seems worth living,

and their faces show it.

Increased drug or alcohol use. A person who is about to commit suicide may start to use

drugs and alcohol more regularly thinking ” What does it matter if I get drunk every night?

Soon I won’t be here at all.” Increased use of drugs and alcohol can be a major warning sign

of severe depression and possible suicide.

Change in eating and sleeping habits. Some suicidal teens, without realizing it, try to

starve themselves. Burdened by severe depression, they seem to care nothing for food.

Others eat all the time. Either way, it?s a sign of trouble. Another indication of trouble is a

change in sleeping habits. Some depressed people sleep most of the day, while others have

trouble sleeping.

Hurting oneself. Teenagers who are at the point of suicide may first try it on a small scale.

In one “accident” after another, they may cut, burn, or injure themselves. These are not

really accidents. This is self-destructive behavior, which, in effect, is an effort to punish


Physical problems. Some suicidal teenagers can develop physical problems that are not

caused by any illness. Such problems, like vomiting everyday before school, can be caused

by severe depression.

Nearly three times more women than men attempt suicide, but nearly four

times more men then women actually kill themselves. Experts say one reason is the

different methods of suicides used by males and females. Women tend to choose

less violent, less effective methods of killing themselves than men do. Women are more

likely to overdose on drugs than to use guns or to hang themselves. One reason could be

that fewer women have access to guns or know how to use them.

Taking narcotics (drugs that cause sleep or that relieve pain) is the method of suicide most

used by teenagers, especially girls. This is because sleeping pills and certain other

narcotics are often found in houdsehold medicine cabinets. Drugs are a less effective

method though because they take more time to kill a person. If the victim is discovered in

time, and immediate help is found, he or she may be saved. This is the reason fewer girls

die by suicide, although many more attempt it.

The second most common method of suicide, and the one most popular with

boys, is the use of firearms.

Putting a loaded gun to your head, and pulling the trigger is final. Death usually

occurs instantly. There is no going back. There is rarely any chance for the victim

to get help. This is why more teen boys die than teen girls. Slashing the wrists is another

means used by girls. Just like taking drugs, bleeding to death is a slow way of dying. If help

is close, the victim might be saved.

Poisonous gas also brings slow death. Inhaling the carbon monoxide from car exhaust

is one method of teen suicide. Turning on the engine of an automobile that is in a closed

garage fills the air with carbon monoxide. This makes the victim sleepy. Again, if help

comes in time the teen has a chance of recovery.

Drowning, jumping from a skyscraper or bridge, and standing in the path of a moving vehicle

are all methods of suicide most commonly used by adults and not the teens. It is difficult to

dive into deep water when you cannot swim, or jump off a very high building. Many

depressed teenagers are confused and scared about committing suicide. Their uncertainty

and fear lead them to choose a method where less courage is required.

Sociologists say that teen suicide is an epidemic. When one teenager commits suicide,

several others seem to follow. Every 105 minutes another person under the age of 25 dies by

committing suicide. That’s 13 a day. In one Colorado County alone, 18 teenagers killed

themselves in just 18 months. During a five-week period at an Arkansas high school,

4 boys committed suicide. In New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, and elsewhere,

“cluster” suicides have become a tragic new epidemic. Why does one suicide lead to so

many others? Teenagers tend to follow the crowd more than people in other age groups do.

When a young person commits suicide, they are sometimes seen as a hero, one who is

not afraid to carry out a threat or to take “the big step”.

Teen suicide is a sad and awful thing. There are ways each and every one of us can help

to prevent suicide. The number-one rule in suicide prevention is Don’t Stay silent! If

someone says they’re going to commit suicide believe them. Don’t think that this crazy

idea will pass. Even if the suicidal person pleads with you

not to tell, never promise to keep quiet. It could mean their life.

Many teenagers who attempt suicide are loners. They think they have no one to talk to,

no one who cares.

They simply want someone to help them. If a suicidal person can tell someone about his

or her feelings, it

may help to ease the depression. Here are some things to remember: Taken from Eleanor

Ayer’s book Teen

Suicide: Is it too painful to grow up?

Be alert for weapons of self-destruction, such as guns, knives, razors, and pills. Take

steps to get

them removed.

Don’t be afraid to ask directly, “Are you planning to commit suicide?” This approach is

much better

than a question like, “You wouldn’t really do anything to hurt yourself, would you?”

If the answer to your straightforward question is yes, do not appear shocked. This could

cause the

person to lose faith in you as a friend and supporter.

Never leave a suicidal person alone. Try to find the time to sit down and talk with the


Try not to make the person feel guilty by saying things like, “think how your parents would


Don’t criticize. “Let’s talk about solutions other than suicide” is better than

“You’re kidding me!You’re going to kill yourself just because you’re failing math?

Don’t offer false hope. Shallow promises like “You’ll feel better tomorrow,” or

“Cheer up-things aren’t that bad,” show that you don?t understand. For a suicidal person,

there may be no tomorrow, and thingsreally are that bad.

Reverse psychology doesn’t work on a suicidal teenager. If a friend says, “I’m going

to commit suicide,”don’t say “Yeah, right. Go ahead. I dare you.” This may push the

person over the edge.

Offer comfort, but not advice. Suicidal teenagers do not want to hear what you would do

In this situation. Even if they ask, most do not intend to follow your suggestions.

Never swear yourself to secrecy. Do not agree not to tell. When you are dealing with a

suicidal person, you need to get help at once, no matter what the person says.

Don’t be too casual. Comments like “I know how you feel, I’ve been depressed myself,”

only show a suicidal teen that you do not understand. Unless you have tried to commit suicide

yourself, you do not really know how hopeless and unhappy this person feels. You need to let

him or her know that you understand how serious the situation really is, without pretending to

be an expert.

Never Argue. A suicidal teenager is already at the emotional breaking point. He or she

needs a friend, not an enemy-someone who will show caring and understanding.

And last is

Don’t ask a depressed person why he or she wants to commit suicide. Instead, listen

and try to encourage the person to talk. Then you will know why without asking.

Getting the person to talk and being a good listener are two of the best ways a friend or family

member can help prevent suicide.

There have been many programs dedicated to helping prevent teenage suicide.

Perhaps themost famous is the Yellow Ribbon Project. You all might remember a couple

months back there was a week dedicated to the Yellow Ribbon Project. We hung up yellow

ribbons all around the school and had little cards (hold up the card) that look like this out.

Well the whole yellow Ribbon Project started with a story of a young man named Mike Emme who killed himself. His parents were so grief stricken and shocked that they decided they wanted to

do everything they could to help prevent other teens from doing the same thing their son did.

I will now hand out a the story courtesy of Chicken Soup for the teenage soul. Its called I’ll Always

Be With You.

Since this story was printed, it has helped many people cope with suicide.

It has also prevented many teens from taking the final step to suicide. There are also

many other places you can go to get help with suicide. There are many hotlines out there

that you can call up anytime you want, they include:

National Suicide Hotline (24 Hours) Teenage Suicide Center

1-800-555-1212 3811 O’Hara Street

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

(412) 624-0729

Father Flanagan’s Boys Town Hotline Youth Suicide National Center

(for boys and girls) 1-800-448-3000 1825 Eye Street, N.W.

Suite 400

Washington, D.C. 20006

(202) 429-2016

National Institution of Mental Health (NIMH)

5600 Fishers Lane

Room 17-99

Rockville, MD 20857

(301) 443-3673

Suicide is growing quickly among teens in the United States. Sometimes when

a teen enters a state of deep depression, they see suicide as a way out. They make a final

solution to a temporary problem. Well, suicide is not the way to solve a bad situation in

your life. Someone will always be there for you. Not only do you suffer when you commit

suicide; it also affects your family, friends, and all the people around you. There are many

reasons people commit suicide, depression, bad grades, pregnancy, not being able to be with

the one you love, the list goes on. Especially with the recent events in Columbine High School

with the suicide murder massacre, we see that this has to come to a stop. We need to

work together to try to prevent suicide from happening. When a situation gets bad,

do not see suicide as a way out. Wait it out, and eventually things will get better.


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