Essay: Adolescent Suicide
Essay: Adolescent Suicide
Today, more young adults die from suicide than any other natural disease. Although more is known about the phenomenon and more is done to prevent it from happening, it remains the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old (AFSP, 2010). Statistics from the 1950s present that the suicide rate for teens has increased by about 300% after 40 years (1990) (AFSP, 2010).
Many factors, psychological and social, may be the reason for committing suicide at a young age. One of the main reasons is that of depression and hopelessness. Factors contributing to depression may be biological, genetic, and environmental in nature. While we have little control over our genes and biology, the environment is something which can be adjusted. Over the year the environment we live in has changed drastically. Today there’s more competition, more expectations, and a lot more stress. Today, as a society, we face more problems than we did four decades ago.
Other main factors which may cause teens and young adults to commit suicide may include social and emotional isolation, low socioeconomic status, alcohol/drug abuse, low self-esteem etc.
It is not possible to trace the first suicide attempted by a teen as no such data is provided on the web. But suicide attempts have been around for centuries. The term suicide can be traced back to 1773 when it was first used by Samuel Foote in his comedy The Bankrupt “November, the suicide season” (Samuel Foote, 2010). Suicide was decriminalized during the French Revolution, and neither Napoleon nor his monarchist successors reinstated the laws against it. “And with the emergence of the psychiatric profession in the nineteenth century, the tendency to interpret the act as the inadvertent consequence of psychological problems, which could be diagnosed, treated, and cured, displaced the religious impulse to judge it in moral terms” (Lieberman, 2003).
Youth suicide rate recorded in the United States in 1910 was 140,000 and in 1995 was 230,000 (Anderson 2002). According to the World Health Organization, the suicide rate for Americans aged 15 to 24 has tripled between 1950 and 1994. Journalist David Elkind believes that the increase over the last several decades is directly related to the amount of stress that kids face.
“Today’s teenagers face problems that are different from those faced by teens of previous generations. They have more freedom – to engage actively and to abuse drugs. They experience more loss due to the soaring divorce rate. And on another level, young people today also have lost the sense of progress that the world is getting better.” (Kanalley, 2005 )
The increase in the rate of suicide is shocking. Many organizations are dedicated to helping these teens find hope. After a steady decline in the national suicide rate among youth from 1 to 19 years of age, the rate rose by 14% from 2003 to 2004, according to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (Baron, 2007). Teenage suicide is not just limited to one region. It is a problem faced my many developing countries as more and more teens try to commit suicide. According to World Health Organization, the global youth suicide rate (15 to 24-year-olds) was 22.0 per 100,000 (Kanalley, 2005). It is a growing concern for many as the suicide does not only affect one person but disrupts the whole society because it can be contagious for other teens facing difficulties as they all are looking for a long-term solution.