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Teen Suicide: Fourth Leading Cause of Death among Teenagers

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Teen Suicide: Fourth Leading Cause of Death among Teenagers
Causes of Teen Suicide
“Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among teenagers.” (Teen Suicide Statistics, n.d.) Nowadays, suicide is becoming one of the most serious social issues among teenagers. Every year all around the world, thousands of teenagers try to take their own lives and for every successful teen suicide there are more than fifty other ones who attempt to commit suicide. (Teen Suicide Statistics, n.d.) There are many factors which can lead teenagers to commit suicide; the three major causes of teen suicide are stress caused by school and family expectations, bullying, and long periods of depression. These three factors can cause and inflict a lot of pain to the teens by making them feel worthless, which will lead the teen to commit suicide in order to end the pain. “It is clear that students are under increased pressures related to school performance, getting into a prestigious college, and being the best at everything they do.” (Biegel,2011) Stress is one of the biggest factors of teen suicide and it is often caused by the pressure in the enviroment or social institution where the teen interacts such as school. Nowadays, education is becoming so important that most people consider school as a factor which can define an individual`s future. From this point of perspective a lot schools, if not say every school, are giving much more pressure to stundents by providing a lot of homeworks, assignments, and test. According to the research of the journalist, Liz Smith, seventy-five percent of schools now spend a “tenth of all the teaching time practicing for English tests”, and they claimed that the practices are “designed to help the students to get a good score in those test, ” in order to get into a good university. But this method is having its secondary effect on teens, which is high level of stress.
As Adrian Brown of Childline said, “Fear of failure and pressure to succeed can be immense. They don’t want to let parents, teachers and themselves down.” (Smith, 2004) Teens are experiencing much more stress due to the high expectations from parents, family, teachers, friends, or even from themselves. When those high expectations seem to be unachievable for the teenager, they will cause a lot of stress. The following cases of teen suicide show the effects of school pressure and stress on teens. Tim Russell, who was only 16 years old, killed himself with his father’s gun, because he had failed physics. Another example is Shaun Begley, a 16 years old boy, hanged himself from a tree, because he thought that he would fail his math. (Smith, 2004) In these two examples both teenagers commited suicide, it is because they had or though that they had a lack of success at school. They could not handle the disappointment of failing their tests. Also, they felt sad that they were letting their teachers, parents, and themselves down. Furthermore, the level of stress caused by the fear of failure was so high that the teens felt that life was meaningless if they could not have a good academic achievement. This kind of stress and pressure lead the teenagers to commit suicide as the only way to put an end to their disappointments and pain cause by the stress from school. Although stress is a really big factor on teen suicide, bullying can also influence teen suicide.
Over the years the problem of teen suicide related to bullying has been drawing more public attention. According to the American Psychological Association bullying is an aggressive behavior done intentionally and repeatedly to another person and it causes injury or discomfort. It can be done in many ways, but the most commons are physical and verbal. (Sherri Gordon, n.d.) Some examples of physical bullying are hitting, pinching, kicking, punching, spitting, scratching or any other form of physical attack. It is considered verbal bullying when the bully uses words to insult, make racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes, to tease, or to make offensive remarks, in order to make the victim feel bad and worthless. (Hawkes, C., Keirstead, Mark., Hawes, Reg., Holland, Dick., Gerrard, Dennis., 2001) Bullying is a serious problem which can cause many negative effects on its victim. Bullying can be presented in many places but in most of the cases it is present in schools; and since teenagers spent most of their time in school they are highly exposed to bullying.
The presence of bullying can cause many negative impacts in a teenager`s life. According to a research done by Sherri Gordon, one of every ten students, who dropped out of school, did so because they suffered repeated bullying. The presence of bullying in those teens` school life made them quit school, so that they could avoid being bullied. Moreover, bullying can cause teens to have a low self-esteem and it can also lead to major problems such as teen suicide. According to the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey of 2008: “Nearly one-quarter of tenth graders who reported being bullied also reported having made a suicide attempt in the past 12 months.” In addition, a study done by Yale University, bully victims are 2-9 times more likely to consider suicide than the ones who have not experienced bullying and at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. (Gordon, n.d.) The teenagers, whom suffered bullying, were suffering emotional and/or physical harm; and the pain they made them felt that life was worthless and meaningless. Due to the pain that the bullies were causing to them, these teenagers tried to take their own lives but even a greater cause of teen suicide is depression.
As a famous quote says “People do not die from Suicide. They die from sadness”. (Biegel, 2011) Sadness is a very dangerous feeling when the individual is feeling it for long periods of time and it becomes depression. Depression is a mental disorder that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, mood, behavior and even physical health, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This mental ill is often experienced by teenagers due to social and personal changes such as changes in school, family, friendship, and hormones. According to the University of Texas, 75 percent of those who had committed suicide showed symptoms of depression such as having long periods of sadness, irritability, anxiety, strange behaviors, and feelings unreasonable guilt.(National Alliances on Mental Illness, n.d.) Depression becomes dangerous when it is not treated. It can make the teenagers feel that everything in life is sad and that they do not have a purpose of being alive, as consequence it may provoke the teenagers to commit suicide as a way of ending their sadness. According to the Teen Suicide Statistics (n.d.) more than a half of all teens suffering from depression had attempted to commit suicide at least once, as a result “depression is considered a leading - if not the leading - cause of teen suicide.” This happens because at some point in most teens’ lives, they will experience periods of sadness, worry and/or despair. (Scheff,2011). Feeling depress at times is normal but feeling it for long periods of time can cause physical and mental pain. Studies done by the National Alliance on Mental Illness have shown that, on a normal day course, eight percent of teenagers meet the criteria of major depression and if it is not handle properly, it can lead the teen to commit suicide. Most of the teen suicidal attempts are the results of their inability to handle depression.

Basically, most of the cases teenagers who are suffering a lot of stress, feeling depression, or being bullied tend to commit suicide. These factors can make teenagers feel a lot of sadness and pain, which can make them think that taking their lives is the only way to end their pain, problem, and/or sadness. But this can be prevented. The factors which make the teenagers commit suicide can be reduced. In order to prevent and avoid teenagers from committing suicide due to stress the parents, teachers should give their support by putting less pressure on them, and give them free time to relax and to release the negative energy that causes the teen stress. Also, the teen should organize his or her schedule to avoid the stress of not being able to handle homework, assignments or to study for tests. Often times the problem of bullying among teenagers occurs in school, so the best way to reduce and prevent teens getting bullied in school is to talk the school`s principal and teachers to get help. Aside from that the parents should support the teen emotionally and help him or her to overcome it. To reduce or avoid depression the teens` family and friends should talk more often with the teens, in order to make them feel that they are people who care about them. Also, the teen should share his or her feeling with trusted people, try to do more social activities, and maybe find professional help to treat the ill. In short, the best way to avoid teenagers from committing suicide is by showing them your support and making them realize that there are people who care about him or her. This will make the teen feel that life is not so bad or meaningless and this will make him or her feel that there is something to live for. With the support of parents, family and friends the teen will have his or her will to live again, in order to avoid the teen from committing suicide.

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