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Youth Suicide

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It is said that thirty thousand people make the choice to die by their own hand every year. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in adults, and it is the second leading cause of death in adolescents. Since the 1950s, the suicide rate in teenagers has tripled. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five high school students will seriously consider suicide. Teenagers are often caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Being treated like children, while expected to act like adults often forces confusion and frustration. This can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. Social integration and genetics are two of the most contributing factors of suicide. While these circumstances can lead to suicide, the effects are detrimental to the family and friends of the victim whom are left behind. There are many roles that society plays in teenage suicide. Social integration involves people voluntarily attaching themselves to society, while society tries to accept them. According to recent statistics, bullying has become more and more frequent in schools and online. The American Justice Department reported that one out of every four adolescents will be bullied throughout their childhood. Bullying is more than just “boys being boys”; it is violence in its most pure form.

The victims of teen bullying have the potential to turn into assailants themselves. This often will lead to a life of poor choices that result in the individual becoming criminally delinquent. Furthermore, this can lead to many deciding to take their own life, perhaps in an attempt to escape reality. While bullying is one aspect that society contributes to teenage suicide, race and gender also play a role. One statistic showed that white males are more likely to commit suicide over any other race and gender. Due to social inequality and less social regulation, males often find it hard to blame others for their mistakes. As a form of aggression towards themselves, many will take their own life. For those who live in urban settings, a limited social support system and a perceived view of isolated independance upon oneself are often characteristic of those who are more likely to commit suicide. There are a number of suicidal risk factors that are known such as; impulsive behavior, decreased levels of serotonin, psychiatric disorders, depression, and a family history of suicide.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, family history of suicide and substance abuse are the most common risk factors for suicide in the United States. Epidemiological studies on clinical patients have demonstrated a significantly higher risk for suicidal behavior among family members of suicide victims and attempters. Research shows that depressed individuals with a mutation in the gene encoding the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor are more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who suffered from depression, but did not carry the mutation. Mental illnesses, such as; anxiety, depression, hopelessness, frustration, and a traumatic childhood, are all factors when having suicidal thoughts. Many say that suicide is not a character flaw; it is something that you are born with. One study that was published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics examined the rate of suicide among the Amish population in southern Pennsylvania. Genealogical and medical records revealed that four families accounted for seventy-three percent of all suicides, but represented only sixteen percent of the total Amish population. Having a loved one commit suicide can affect one not only emotionally, but physically as well. The physical effects suicide could have on a person include; migraines, hypertension, and depression.

These effects can make one feel numb to the world and almost in a zombie-like state of mind. Normal everyday activities and decisions can become extremely overwhelming and even non-existent. Research has shown that most people blame the parents of a child who has committed suicide, often times more than they blame the survivors of others. Emotional effects that suicide has on family and friends of victims can include; loss, blame, sorrow, anger, guilt, embarrassment, desertion, and can even arouse one’s own suicidal thoughts. As a result of such high numbers of individuals committing suicide, the United States government has created several prevention programs, along with support groups for friends and families of the victims.

For example, the Youth Suicide Prevention Program is a program designed to create awareness, offer trainings and school curricula, and support communities taking action. Teenage suicide is an on-going, worldwide epidemic. It is a recurring tragedy that occurs everyday with approximately thirteen people subcumbing to suicide every day in the United States alone. Since the 1950s, the suicide rate has tripled worldwide, and has become the second leading cause of death in adolescents. Because of this overwhelming increase, the United States government created many programs, organizations, and even hotlines for those who are struggling mentally and physically. The family and friends of victims can suffer from the mental and physical effects. Suicide is in and of itself, hard to rationalize for those left behind, but more so, for those who attempted suicide but survived.

Works Cited
Hosanky, David. “Youth Suicide.” CQ Researcher. 13 Feb. 2004: 125-48. Web. 1 Oct. 2014. Thio, Alex. “Suicide.” Deviant Behavior. 8th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979. 145-75. Print. Zalsman, Gil. Genetics of Suicidal Behavior in Children and Adolescents. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Dec. 0000. Web. 04 Oct. 2014.

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