Suicides among young people nationwide have increased greatly in recent
years. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third
leading cause of death for 15 – to – 24 years olds, and the sixth leading cause of death forOrder now
5 – to – 14 year olds.
Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to
succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teenagers,
divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a
new community can be very unsettling and can encourage self-doubts. In some cases,
suicide appears to be a “solution.”
Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable mental disorders. The child or
adolescent needs to have his or her illness recognized and diagnosed, and appropriate
treatment plans developed. When parents are in doubt whether their child has a serious
problem, a psychiatric examination can be very helpful.
Many of the symptoms of suicidal feelings are similar to those of depression.
Parents should be aware of the following signs of adolescents who may try to kill
themselves. Child and adolescent psychiatrists recommend that if one or more of these
signs occurs, parents need to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional
help when the concerns persist.
TEEN SUICIDE Essay leaves behind an unceasing wake of questions. Parents, friends, and
classmates all ask in endless echo-WHY? Everyone tries to make sense of it. But no sense
can be made.
All questions. No answers. Just the cold, haunting specter of senseless death.
Psychological studies have discovered a number of links to teen suicide. It comes as no
surprise that depression and hopelessness typically top the list. Alcoholism and drug abuse
are prevalent among kids who attempt suicide.
A history of sexual abuse can also
contribute to a teen’s choice to die. However, one prominent link to teen suicide is often
overlooked by the mainstream media. Many medical studies have pinpointed family
disintegration as a prime factor in teen suicide. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology published a study in 1987 that found, “The strongest predictors of suicidal
behavior in this sample were children’s perceptions of their family environments.” The
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry also noted this connection in a study published in
1993. The journal reported, “Results showed that suicidal behavior tended to be
associated with greater family conflict and with less family organization.
” In fact, one
study conducted by sociologist Robert Stack of Pennsylvania State University documented
the connection specifically between divorce and teen suicide. He found not only that the
rate of teen suicide grew with the divorce rate, but also decreased proportionately when
the divorce rate decreased. This is not to suggest that every family that endures a divorce
produces a suicidal teen. However, it does indicate a connection between suicidal
tendencies and the struggles faced by children of divorce.
Mike was a senior and the star basketball player at his midwestern high school. He
seemed to have everything going for him.
One night Mike stayed over at his best friend
Tracy’s house. Late at night, the boys began confiding in each other about how frustrated
they were with life. Eventually the idea of suicide came up. Nothing was ever really
decided. No ‘suicide pact’ was made. But both boys had pretty much made up their minds
that if things didn’t start to change soon, death was an option.
They concluded that the
biggest obstacle holding them back was the fear of dying.
Two weeks later, Mike saw Tracy in the hall at school. Out of the blue, Mike
blurted out, “I lost the fear.” Tracy wasn’t sure he really meant it. Later, Mike said to
Tracy, “I’ll see you in hell, my friend.” Could he be joking? Mike did joke around a lot.
But before the day was out, Mike put a gun to his head-and pulled the trigger.
Mike’s suicide shook the school to its very foundations. Rumors of a suicide pact
surfaced. In an effort to avert more deaths, the principal called in a counselor, Mitchel
Anthony. Mitchel met with Mike’s closest friends. Interestingly, six out of eight of Mike’s
friends told Mitchel they no longer feared death.
This illustrates the deep and .