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  January 07, 2017

Detail

 

Sad Truths about Teen Suicide

Teen deaths for any reason are tragic losses of life and potential. Most everyone at some time in his or her life will experience periods of anxiety, sadness, and despair. These are normal reactions to the pain of loss, rejection, or disappointment. Those with serious mental illnesses, however, often experience much more extreme reactions, reactions that can leave them mired in hopelessness. And when all hope is lost, some feel that suicide is the only solution. It isn’t. According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens 15 to 19 years old.

Other teen suicide factors -- family breakup through divorce, alcohol or drug abuse, and family dysfunction -- are mentioned in all the major health organization publications as main factors in teen suicide. Suicide is typically caused by a constellation of risk factors and underlying vulnerabilities. “It’s an attempt to solve a problem of intense pain with impaired problem-solving skills. Researchers have long known that the basic problem with the teenage brain is the “asymmetric” or unbalanced way the brain develops.

While the reasons that teens commit suicide vary widely, there are some common situations and circumstances that seem to lead to such extreme measures. These include major disappointment, rejection, failure, or loss such as breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, failing a big exam, or witnessing family turmoil. Since the overwhelming majority of those who commit suicide have a mental or substance-related disorder, they often have difficulty coping with such crippling stressors. They are unable to see that their life can turn around, unable to recognize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Usually, the common reasons for suicide listed above are actually not the "causes" of the suicide, but rather triggers for suicide in a person suffering from a mental illness or substance-related disorder. More recently, scientists have focused on the biology of suicide. Suicide is thought by some to have a genetic component, to run in families. And research has shown strong evidence that mental and substance-related disorders, which commonly affect those who end up committing suicide, do run in families. While the suicide of a relative is obviously not a direct "cause" of suicide, it does, perhaps, put certain individuals at more risk than others. Certainly, the suicide of one’s parent or other close family member could lead to thoughts of such behavior in a teen with a mental or substance-related disorder.

"I think parents are aware, doctors are aware, but sometimes we don't know what to do. As well as the bullying, social media encouraged children to dwell on negative emotions, such as pain and suffering. Suicide is heralded as a wonderful thing (on social media)."

People who are contemplating suicide feel so alone and helpless, the most important thing to do if you think a friend or loved one is suicidal is to communicate with him or her openly and frequently.
I truly believe that understanding more about suicide would have saved a life at my school. I also believe that understanding more about anxiety and eating disorders would have helped many girls to lead a happier life.


Huma Afshan
IIU Islamabad.
 

 

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