Teen Suicide

Teenagers face many struggles in their daily lives, particularly at home and school. Because they are still “growing up,” they are prone to mood swings, and once they feel bad, it usually lasts awhile. With all the pressure to get good grades, fit in, be successful, get along, help the family, and all the other troubles that build up, it becomes easy for them to slip into depression.

There are many different things that can make someone have these kinds of feelings. Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend will often make someone feel lessened, as if he/she weren’t good enough to be with the other person. Making a bad grade when he/she usually gets good grades can make someone feel stupid, especially when he/she had studied. The death of a loved one will lead to mourning, and sometimes feelings of blame and guilt. Being made fun of a lot lowers a person’s self esteem and can make him/her feel like maybe the things being said about them are true. Homosexual teens often feel guilty about their sexuality, get taunted, face being thrown out of the house, and are two to three times more likely to face depression. Color and race can also be a contributing factor; the largest group of teens that commits suicide are young black males.

Gender also plays a role in depression and suicidal tendencies. Girls are more likely to feel depressed than guys, but five times more guys will successfully commit suicide than girls since they often choose more violent, irreversible means.

Depression, when it is hidden by the person facing it, can grow into deeper depression, and can lead to even more negative thoughts and suicidal tendencies. By not talking about it or by no one noticing what is happening, these unknown thoughts can lead to a far worse problem than what it started as.

Depression doesn’t have to go undetected though. There are many warning signs that will alert you if someone you know is depressed, especially if you know the person and his/her moods well. Expressing feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt often mean that a person is facing depression. Loss of interest in events they used to find enjoyable, trouble sleeping, unexplained aches and pains, and dramatic appetite changes are some very noticeable signals, along with drinking, taking drugs, and wanting to be alone when they usually would want to be with other people. By realizing someone is depressed, you could end up saving his/her life.

Stress also plays a big part in both depression and suicide. The build up of all the problems people face can often make them so irritable and worried that they just can’t take it anymore. Biting nails and cuticles, constantly touching parts of the body such as hair and ears, stuttering, tiredness, loss of appetite, and frequent headaches are very common signs of stress. Other symptoms include losing temper often, sleeping problems such as getting too little or too much sleep accompanied by nightmares, not being able to enjoy anything or laugh, and when the skin breaks out in a rash or hives with no medical explanation.

Suicide is a frighteningly high cause of death in teens, and America is the highest ranking country in suicides. Within the next twenty-four hours 1,439 teens will attempt suicide, 2,795 teenage girls will become pregnant, 15,006 teens will use drugs for the first time, and 3,506 teens will run away, according to TEEN Help.

Deep depression is referred to by doctors as resulting from a mental illness, “clinical depression." However, this isn’t always the case; depression isn’t always a result of a medical condition, but is a state of deep sadness, and about 9-20% of all people at any given time of day suffer from its symptoms, with 4-6% of the sufferings being major depression. Almost 10% of all people will face depression at some point in their lives, and 15% of all depressed people eventually commit suicide because of it, according to Depression by Dianne Hales.

If you or someone you know feels depressed and may feel like the only way out is suicide, please get help from a friend, trusted adult, counselor, or a professional qualified to treat you, or try these resources:

Teen Help - http://www.vpp.com/teenhelp/index.html ; 1-800-840-5704

T.E.A.C.H. - http://www.teachhotline.org ; 1-800-367-7287

TEEN Challenge - http://www.tc.asn.au (The following are part of TEEN challenge)
Living Hope
- (088)-277-4033
Youth Counsel
- (088)-277-4400
Teen Challenge - (088)-410-5161

(Accompanying side-bar) Students' Opinion on Teen Suicide*

“I don’t understand why teens would want to end their lives. There is a lot to live for. If they’re having problems, they should find help.” – Anonymous

“I think it’s stupid to do because you think you’re hurting yourself, but you’re really hurting those around you. Life’s too short to hurt anyone.” – Anonymous

“I think that teens do it because they have some major conflicts in their lives, but suicide is not the solution for their problems. They need to get help before they make a bad decision like that.” – Anonymous

“I think teen suicide is very stupid because they think things will be better for themselves, and they’re really hurting what they could have been, also hurting their friends and family… Death is a really hard thing to overcome.” – Anonymous

“I think that people need to value their lives more. They should not take what is not theirs. Only God can take your life from you.” – Anonymous

“I think almost all teens have at least had a thought about suicide. Most just can’t handle the stress in their lives, but I think it is definitely bad because you aren’t helping any situation by killing yourself.” – Anonymous

“Teen suicide is the result of people pushing kids too far.” - Anonymous

“I think it’s sad that some teenagers think the only way to make things better is to take their own life. There’s always a better way, you just have to search for it sometimes.” – Anonymous

“I think teen suicide is ridiculous; it has absolutely no meaning. People who think about suicide or commit it don’t like themselves, or have no self-esteem whatsoever. They feel sorry for themselves and think no one understands what they’re going through, and that the whole world is against them. It doesn’t have to be like that. If they just let someone help them and open up their minds, they’ll realize life is worth living for.” – Anonymous

“I think that people must be really depressed to think that taking their own lives will make things better. Yes, there are a lot of stresses for teens these days, and there are a lot of things to worry about, but life is full of obstacles, and that is why it is so challenging. Teen suicide is wrong, and people who think about it really need help.” – Anonymous

* All names that appeared in the side-bar have been changed to Anonymous for their protection.

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