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Suicide Essay, Research Paper

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents 15 19 years of age with homicide ranking the third most common way of death (King [1]). In the year 1994 alone, 2,270 teen s lives were abruptly ended when they decided to commit suicide. Possibly as many as 4,500 youth suicides and 900,00 youth suicide attempts could of actually occurred considering that medical examiners underreport suicides by 25 50%, and that 100 to 200 attempts occur per youth suicide completion (King [1]). The rate for teen suicide is increasing by 28.3% among the 15-19 year old age group and by 120% among 10 14 year olds age group, respectably (Suicide [1]). With such a show of drastically high numbers, it is evident that there is a problem in the world with adolescents committing suicide. There is simply to many teens taking their lives and leaving to many people to deal with the death of that teen. More information needs to be generated to the public about the causes of suicide, methods used to commit suicide, potential warning signs displayed before a suicide attempt is made, and the way of preventing teen suicide completion available in hopes of helping lower the numbers and percentages provided above.

Adolescent suicide can occur anywhere. No social standing or income rate can predict whether a teen will commit suicide. Suicide occurs in any socioeconomic group. A teen should not be assessed on his or her socioeconomic background, but rather on the social and emotional characteristics like mood and social involvement within school, work, or home to determine if that individual teen is in danger of suicidal behavior (King [3]). Also, adolescent females are more likely to attempt suicide or to have thoughts of suicide (King [2]). Teen females are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to report having ideation of committing suicide and 3 to 4 more times likely to attempt a suicide. On the other hand, males are more likely to commit the suicide. Males are 4 to 5.5 times more likely of completing a suicide attempt. Out of every 25 females that attempt suicide, one completes it. With the males, one of every three that attempt to take their own life succeeds King [2]). Just because the females successfully complete fewer suicides then those of the male gender their threats or attempts should not be taken any less seriously. Furthermore, one third to one half of the teens that try to kill themselves have previously attempted the same act (King [2]).

There are many reasons that a teen might give for trying to attempt suicide and/or wanting to complete the suicide attempt. The most common reason stated by teens for wanting to commit suicide was the fact that they claimed to want to escape an unbearable situation or to stop feeling pain (Reason s [1]). The feeling of inadequency, experiencing depression, loss of something extremely important such as a parent or friend are other reasons listed by teens as causes of wanting to end life (Suicides [1]). Family violence and/or other family problems, substance abuse, aggression and/or antisocial behavior, and mental illnesses are yet some more examples that a teen might endure and push them over the edge into committing the horrible act of ending their young and inexperienced life. When all the statistics are observed it seems that teens want to take their life when they feel that they no longer have options left open to them in this life, have no cause of living, or is just causing themselves and others unnecessary pain. The teen thinks and believes that their death will bring about happiness for someone else in the future, end their own pain, or get them out of an unbearable situation they feel they have no control over. The reason for attempting suicide, for some however, might not even be about ending one s life, it could potential be just an attention seeker. After trying many methods such as sports, academics, or hobbies, to gain the support and attention of an individual the teen looks up to, he or she may not obtain the what the desperately strives too. So in order to achieve the attention and acceptance the teen thinks he of she deserves, they attempt suicide. The attempt might be negative or positive but either way, the teen could possibly obtain the attention he or she felt was necessary and important to him or her. Also, suicidal behavior can not be predicted through the occurrence that the father or mother of the teen committed suicide. A gene that causes people to commit suicide has not been found.

Teens use more then one method to commit suicide. With such an increase in availability of guns to teens in the past few years, firearms have taken the number one spot for the most frequently used weapon and method to end one s life. In 1990, firearms contributed to the 81% increase of suicide among of the 15 19 year old teens from 1980

1992 (Suicide [1]). In 1994, firearms were the cause of 67% of all completed adolescent suicides (King [3]). It is presumed that a home containing a firearm is 4.8 more times likely to experience a suicide than a home that does not harbor a firearm (King [3]). Strangulation (by hanging) ranked second in most common way to commit suicide among teens. In 1994, it accounted for 18% of the successfully completed adolescent suicides (King [3]). The third most common method was poisoning. Cutting or, for example, slitting the wrists or neck, was also a common method used by youths that attempted or completed a suicide.

A myth surrounding teen suicide that states most adolescent suicides occur unexpectedly without warning is completely false (King [1]). Nine out of ten teens display warning signs and give clues to the action that they are thinking of committing, being suicide (King [1]). Knowing the warning signs can help you identify and determine if a teen is at risk of attempting to end his or her life. Warning signs can include a variety of different habits or changes expressed by a teen. The warning signs of teens are very much like the warning signs of an adult considering committing suicide. A noticeable change in eating or sleeping habits is a clue that can be observed by people who know the teen. A decrease of eating of food intake or an increase of food intake would be considered a change. The same would apply to sleeping habits. Some teens may want to sleep more often then they used to, or it might be the opposite and the teen may want to sleep less of have trouble sleeping. Another warning sign would be if the teen suddenly starts exhibiting unexplained or unusually severe, violent or rebellious behavior. A teen that displays this type of behavior, and previously had a record of acceptable behavior, could possibly be in the need of some help and may be possibly considering committing suicide. Withdrawal from family or friends could also potentially be another red flag. When the teen begins to no longer take interest in events such as sports, parties, or other social activities that he or she had previously enjoyed is yet another sign. A teen, or adult for that matter, who experiences drastic personality changes may also be trying to signal for help. Along with the personality changes could potentially bring about agitation, restlessness, or panicky behavior. Another key clue is when the teen begins to give away possessions. When the teen begins to give things away that he or she values highly to friends or family is a sign that the teen could possibly be suicidal. Finally, another warning sign is when the teen begins to talk about suicide. Even if the teen brings up the subject in a jokingly matter, the teen should be taken seriously. The teen should not be told that he or she does not have the guts to kill themselves or that the teen is just being stupid. All references to taking ones own life should be considered serious and looked into to see if the teen needs help or has problems. Another thing to remember is that just because a teen displays some of these signs, does not mean that the teen is suicidal. It is always better to be safe then sorry though, so it would probably be in the best interest to investigate into what the youth has on his or her mind. If the youth displays one warning sign, then if examined or watched more closely, it could be discovered that the teen might actually publicize more then one of the warning signs, but it went unobserved.

There are many routes to take in trying to help aid in the prevention of teen suicide. One of the first things, and the most important thing, would be to educate yourself and others on the topic at hand. If a person does not know what to look for in a suicidal teenager or how to help the teen get assistance to save the life of that teen, then what good will that person serve in the prevention of the adolescent s suicide? There are groups available to help in the aid of educating people about suicide. Training school and community leaders to identify the risk factors and the youth at highest risk of suicidal thoughts, threats, and attempts would also be an important step in helping to lower the number of teen suicides. Educating the actual youth in danger of suicide would also help. Educating the youth about teen suicide in a sensitive context will not put ideas into the youth s head either. Over three fourths, or 77%, of teens claim that if they were contemplating suicide, they would first turn to a friend. So it would seem that the peer group assistance programs would have a beneficial outcome in prevention., and interventions, developing peer-support groups for teens, establishing suicide centers and hotlines, restricting access to highly lethal methods of suicide, and intervening after a suicide to prevent another attempt.. The educational programs would not only help the teens, but it would also help adults help the teens at risk of this type of behavior.


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