Teen Suicide and Steps We Can Take To Prevent It

Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason so don’t ever give up. -Unknown



Jazmine Cook, Journalism

   Suicide, it’s a touchy subject for everyone. Every day people take their lives for so many different reasons. It’s not fair to them, to their families, to their friends, or to anyone else around them, but it still happens. What can we do to lower the rates of teen suicide? What steps can we take to ensure that our loved ones and friends don’t feel the need to take their lives?

  Everyone says that they know suicide is common, but how common is it? Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens ages 12-18,  the leading cause is accidental or unintentional injuries. According to the The Parent Resource Program, a website that gives parents information, more teens pass away from suicide then teens who pass away from cancer, AIDS, birth defects, strokes, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.

  On average there are 3,470 teen suicide attempts a day.  90% of teens suffer from some type of mental health problems. These issues can be anything such as depression, anxiety, drug/alcohol abuse, or behavior problems. In 1975, the amount of teen men who committed suicide was 1,289 while the amount of females was at a much lower number of 305, and all fell into the age group of 15-19. In 2015 the numbers of teen boys ages 15-19 who commited suicide was 1,537 and the number of teen girls ages 15-19 who died to suicide was 524. In 40 years the average amount of teen boys who committed suicide increased by 248 boys and the number of teen girls who committed suicide was increased by 219. That is a lot.

  There are many factors that contribute to suicide. Bullying, losing someone you were close to, a bad home life, a mental disorder, any type of abuse, sexual orientation issues and even stress.  

  80% of teens who commit suicide give clear warning signs, such as verbal threats, previous attempts, a change in their personality, depression, and a lack of interest in future plans. However, it is not always easy to see the warning signs.

  If you are a friend of someone who talking about suicide, there a few things that you can do to help them. You need to look out for the warning signs, don’t be afraid to talk to them about it. Talking about suicidal behavior does not cause someone to be suicidal, do not make any deals especially ones that involve you keeping their secret, tell an adult right away, and ask if your school has a crisis team such as Safe Voice.

  Educators may not think that can make a difference in teen suicide but they can. Teachers have to understand why teen suicide prevention fits in with their role as a teacher. They have to be able to identify a student who may be at risk, respond to a student who may be at risk, be prepared to respond to a suicide death, and be prepared to have conversations with students. Finally, as an educator,  you can consider becoming involved in school wide-suicide prevention.

  Teen suicide is a bigger deal than people think. It affects the teen, their family, their friends, and even their teachers. Teen suicide is not a joke and should not be taken as one. We need to come together and show that these teens do deserve to be here. We need to show them that there are people who care about them and that they are not alone. If you or someone you know needs help with suicide prevention you can contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.