Every year thousands of teens die in the United States, not from cancer or car accidents, but by their own hand; they make the choice that they want to die, and they take their own life. Statistics conducted in 1996 reveal that every 42 seconds a teenager attempts suicide and every 16. 9 minutes a teenager completes it (World Future Society).
Many people think that the latter is not factual, and they try to sweep the matter of Teen Suicide under the carpet. Yet it is all true. Suicide is the fastest growing killer of youth in America, and if left unaddressed, it will help bring about disastrous consequences for the United States in the future (World Future Society).
So let us proceed in dealing with the vast teen suicide problem by first recognizing it as a national dilemma, then by educating our youth about it, and finally by providing greater access to resources dealing with it. Teenage suicide is indeed a great plight in the United States. It is the eighth leading cause of all deaths in the country; third for persons aged 15 to 24 (Waters and Ingrassia). Statistics show that more than 13 of every 100,000 teenager took their life in 1990, and that numbers rising every year.
It is further revealed that an estimated 500,000 teenagers kill themselves every year, and about 5000 succeed. 5000 – that is right up there with cancer and homicide (www. spanusa. org). In fact, suicide kills teens 3 to 6 times more than homicide.
Although suicide rates over the past 40 years are relatively stable, the incidence of suicide among 15-24 year olds has tripled, while the rate among 15-19 year olds has quadrupled (Garner and Rosenberg). Additionally, the suicide completion for young people in the same age bracket has tripled among young men according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Brown University). A further study conducted by the Gallup Organization shows that 5% of American teenagers today say that they have tried to commit suicide. The numbers of death by teens suicide are rising quickly, and it must be stopped. Why is it that teenagers are committing suicide? There are many factors which lead teenagers today to take their own life.
There is the socio-environmental factor which suggest that the greater access to firearms has caused a rise in the death of youth. Teenagers can easily kill themselves with such deadly weapons as guns. Two other angles involve science. Studies run by the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network suggest that prenatal hazard increases the risks for teen suicide.
Mothers of the potential suicides received less prenatal care and were more likely to smoke cigarettes and take alcohol during pregnancy. Excess of suicide could, therefore, be due to CNS consequences of birth complications, exposure to some teratogen during pregnancy, and the heritability of psychopathology (www. spanusa. org). Neurochemical abnormalities may also cause teen suicide. Findings in .
. . adolescent suicide and suicide attempts include abnormally low levels of serotonin metabolite 5HIAA; reduction in presynaptic 5HT receptor density; increase in post synaptic 5HT receptor density (www. spanusa.
org). Suicide is a genetically influenced. It may be the result of an underlying personality or predisposition to mental illness that is inherited. One other cause is the imitative thinking of our youth (Garner and Rosenberg). After a film or news story on suicide is shown, suicide rates tend to go up.
There are counts of specific suicides that were committed shortly after seeing or reading about suicide. The latter factors are, however, minor. The two major causes of teen suicide are the homophobic sentiments of the people and struggles within the family unit. Many homosexual teens attempt to commit suicide due to the overwhelming pressure that our society puts on them to be normal.
Generally speaking, homosexual youth tend to be outcast and abused verbally, physically, as well as mentally by their straight peers, for it is dictated by our society that whoever does not fall into the normal category must be persecuted. It is because of this thinking that our youth today are driven to kill themselves. The verbal, physical, and mental tortures that homosexual teens receive make them depressed and more prone to committing suicide.