Suicide amongst teenagers is a growing pandemic. However, it is preventable. The key to preventing teen suicides and attempted suicides is being aware and knowledgeable about the subject. Knowing what causes a teen to commit or attempt to commit suicide and what factors increase a teenagers risk of committing or attempting to commit suicide are the first steps towards preventing teen suicide. Teenagers are highly susceptible to suicide largely due to the way puberty affects their brains and behaviors. It is also important to understand what effects the suicide of a teen has on his or her surviving family and friends and how to help them during the grieving process. The death of a young person through suicide can have a different effect on his or her family than a death by other means. The most important thing to remember about preventing teen suicide is to know the signs and to get treatment (often psychiatric treatment, because the causes are mostly mental) for each underlying cause as early as possible.
Teen suicide is a very real and serious issue. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death amongst teenagers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause for death amongst youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and it claims approximately 4,600 teen lives a year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that the number of teen suicides and attempted suicides is on the rise in recent years. With the number of youths attempting and committing suicide increasing it is important to know what causes teens to attempt suicide, warning signs to look for, the effect suicide has on those left behind, and what can be done to prevent teen suicide. First, it is important to know what causes a teen to attempt suicide. Suicide in anyone of any age has been associated with a person’s brain chemistry. “Research shows that the risk for suicide is associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin,” (Suicide In the U.S). The teenage years are a time of many and major changes to the adolescent brain. A teenager’s brain during puberty is undergoing major changes that can have major effects on that person's brain chemistry. Furthermore, "decreased levels of serotonin have been found in people with depression, impulsive disorders, and a history of suicide attempts, and in the brains of suicide victims," (Suicide In the U.S.). Teenagers are specifically affected by this fact because, "the teen years are also a time of the lowest levels of Serotonin in the human brain during human life," (Dupont, 2013). The developing teenage brain during puberty is undergoing considerable rewiring. This rewiring has a substantial effect on a teenagers behavior and emotional responses. According to the National Institute of Mental Health:
Several lines of evidence suggest that the brain circuitry involved in
emotional responses is changing during the teen years. Functional brain
imaging studies, for example, suggest that the responses of teens to
emotionally loaded images and situations are heightened relative to
younger children and adults. The brain changes underlying these patterns
involve brain centers and signaling molecules that are part of the reward
system with which the brain motivates behavior. These age-related
changes shape how much different parts of the brain are activated in
response to experience, and in terms of behavior, the urgency and
intensity of emotional reactions. (The Teen Brain). A teenagers brain is designed to overact to stressful and emotional situations. Teenagers are especially susceptible to suicide, because their developing brains put them at a higher risk. Not only are teenagers' brains putting them at risk of suicide, but puberty itself is a stressful time of life. “Teenagers going through puberty often experience a significant...
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