Teenagers and Suicide

What if you were so unhappy with your life that you believed it would be better if you disappeared? Everything you do feels like the wrong choice. You can’t seem to please yourself or anyone around you. Life is unbearable and you feel like you aren’t good enough.

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You want help, you want advice. You want someone to save you, but you can’t seem to speak the words that just might save your life. You’re driven to a corner, and the only solution you see, the only way out, is suicide. In the present, it seems that the number of youths that are depressed, hurting themselves and thinking suicidal thoughts are increasing. Youth suicide has slowly been crawling its way up the cause of death list and is now the third leading cause of death in youth from ages ten to twenty-four year olds (Washington State Department of Health Teen Suicide).

Youth suicide is a growing social problem that needs to be brought to attention before any more young lives can be taken. Suicidal behavior is thinking or acting towards your own death. Wanting to die, or attempting to take your life is suicidal behavior. Every year, approximately 4,600 young lives are taken because of suicide (Washington State Department of Health Teen Suicide). Even more youths attempt suicide and survive and survive than those who were actually lost. Every year about 157,000 youths between ages ten and twenty-four receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries (Washington State Department of Health Teen Suicide). The top three ways youth attempt to commit suicide is firearms, such as guns, suffocation and poisoning. Boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide, though girls are most likely to report attempting it. Of the number of suicidal deaths nationwide in youth 10-24, 81% were boys and the remaining 19% were girls (Washington State Department of Health Teen Suicide). There is even a difference in suicide amongst different races. In a nationwide survey of grades 9-12, in public and private schools, Hispanic youths were more likely to attempt suicide than their black and white peers (Washington State Department of Health Teen Suicide). There are many things that can cause a teen to want to commit suicide. The most common, is depression.

Every day, depression leads teens one more step closer to suicide. Depression is actually classified as a mental illness, so it’s important to get it addressed. Warning signs of depression are: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or isolation, declining school performance, loss of pleasure in social or athletic activities, sleeping too little or too much, changes in weight or appetite, nervousness, agitation, being irritable, or substance abuse (University of Rochester Teen Suicide). Other factors of teen suicide are: having a history of previous suicide attempts, family history of suicide, history of mental illnesses such as depression, alcohol or drug abuse, a stressful life event or loss, incarceration, or exposure to the suicidal behavior of others. Having any of these factors does not mean that suicide will occur (University Of Rochester Teen Suicide). Adolescence is also one of the hardest times a person could go through (The University of Texas Understanding Teen Suicide). Teens go through a lot of changes and their mentality is an emotional rollercoaster. Teens face changes of their bodies, feelings, and thoughts. They face new stages of fear and stress as they get closer to their future, being pushed to succeed, and have to figure out a new way to look at things. Sometimes teens go through the experience of things such as divorce, or a loss. School can become stressful and teens become overwhelmed. Sometimes, teens just feel like suicide is the right answer. Another main cause of suicide is bullying.

What if you were bullied every day for the way you look, the way you dress, and even the music you listen to? Would what your peers say get to you? All you want is to be accepted, and your value of yourself decreases. You don’t see the point in being around if you are constantly beaten down, mentally and physically. You start to believe that you really are useless and only a waste of space. You begin to blame yourself for not being cute enough, for not being skinny enough, for not being cool enough, for just not being good enough. You can’t find anything good about yourself; you only see the bad stuff. So you begin to hate yourself. You become depressed, you hurt yourself, you become suicidal. Even when the bullies are gone, and you have people who care about you, they just can’t reach you. You’re forever scarred by insecurity and hate, and the only way out is suicide. So you see what a bully can do? Suicide can be an uncomfortable topic for some people, so it won’t be brought up and addressed like it should. Teens could be ashamed of themselves, or are too scared to ask for advice. It is important that teens aren’t judged for the way they feel. This would only make them more insecure and drive them even closer to suicide.

A teen that is reaching out for help needs to be saved. But how can you tell if a teen is suicidal or not if they are determined to hide it? There are several ways to identify if a teen is or is becoming suicidal. Warning signs to help determine if a teen is suicidal are: Changes in eating and sleeping habits, loss of interest in usual activities, withdrawal from friends and family, acting out, such as running away, alcohol and drug use, neglect of personal appearance, unnecessary risk taking, preoccupation with death and dying, increased physical complaints associated with emotional distress, such as stomach aches, headaches, and fatigue, loss of interest is school or work, feelings of boredom, difficulty concentrating, feelings of wanting to die, lack of response to praise, or indicates plans or efforts towards committing suicide (The University of Rochester Teen Suicide).There are several ways to figure out if a teen is planning on committing suicide. A teen could verbalize that they want to or are going to kill themselves. They could give verbal hints, saying things like: they won’t be a problem much longer or if anything happens to them they want you to know (The University of Rochester Teen Suicide).

Teens could give away favorite possessions or throw away belongings, become cheerful after a period of depression, express bizarre thoughts, or write one or more suicide notes (The University of Rochester Teen Suicide). There are ways to help a suicidal teen. It isn’t an unfixable problem. All it takes is for one person to extend a hand to save a life. There are steps that parents and friends can take. Parents can keep firearms and medications away from their teen, get medical help for their teen to prevent any attempts of suicide, and be understanding. It helps a teen a lot to know that there is someone that they can trust and that they know will understand them. A suicidal teen needs someone to rely on; someone they know won’t leave them. Parents need to be there for their child. Friends need take the teens suicide seriously and be there for them. It is also best for them to receive the help of an adult, so that they don’t have to be alone in helping their friend. There are treatments to help a suicidal teen. Most teens, though, believe that things like therapy and medications don’t really work. They think counselors only make things worse and only tell you things you already know, but why do teens feel this way? The answer can be hard to tell.

Suicidal teens can feel like they’re all alone. They believe that no one understands them, and that anyone who claims they do, is only pretending; teens don’t want to be pitied. They think ‘You don’t understand,’ and ‘You don’t really care.’ It’s because they feel this way, that things like therapy and medications sound useless, or even insulting. Teens believe that adults don’t get anything about them, so they block out whatever is said to them. This way, no one is saved, or helped. But really, all a suicidal teen needs is a person who will be there for them; someone who will never give up on them, no matter how difficult the journey is. Suicide does not get rid of the possibility of life getting worse; it takes away the chances of it ever getting better. There really are people out there that are willing to help, people who have been there and back, people who found their way again. There are others who understand the way you feel. There are 7 billion people in the whole world (United States Census Bureau Population Clock). You are not alone. You can be saved. It is worth it. Life is worth it.

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