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Cause Of Death For Teenagers

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I’ll never forget the morning I woke up to my mom telling me that I had lost my sweet friend. As you can imagine, I was speechless. The first thing that rushed to my head was, “ how…. A car crash?….An unspoken illness?” With tears in her eyes, she informed me that it had been from suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents aged 13-18. Over eighty percent of those young adults who take their own lives are suffering from a mental illness. While 30 percent of those enduring such an unstable disease actually seek help. Let those numbers seek in. One may begin to ask themselves, “why exactly aren’t these teens seeking help?” as the percentage of teen suicides continue to increase. There are many answers to this question, but lets start with the most common reason – fear and shame. Adolescents recognize the negative stigma associated with having a mental illness or suicidal thoughts. Which is very understandable, they simply don’t want to be labeled as “crazy” or “nuts.”

One silently suffering could also have fears or concerns on how it could negatively impact their everyday life, such as school or work. Another barrier to seeking help could very likely be limited awareness to just how severe their mental illness really is. A teen will most likely acknowlege their mental health issues, but lack their true significance, sadly before it’s too late. They may dismiss their problems and tell themselves, “I’m okay, my problems aren’t that horrible” or “everyone gets stressed out, I’m fine.” Another obstacle could be distrust. It’s so difficult to consider revealing personal details to a counselor or even a loved one. With not only the factor of distrust, but the concern of being seen differently.

Another factor could be hopelessness. Some young adults could very likely be demoralized by their mental illness and begin to to believe nothing will help them or that things will never get better. A lot of teens even result to drug/alcohol abuse to numb their pain, but don’t realize it’s only postponing their pain and making the healing process even longer. Beliefs and approaches as such can be a huge component to seeking help. While there can be many more reasons for these teens not seeking help, a last consideration could be inability to pay for the treatment due to financial hardship or lack of health care insurace. While suicide rates in teens only increase, one may ask, “how can we help? How can we potentially get these high percentages down?” Firstly, we can begin to eliminate the negative stigma society has spit out associated with mental illnesses. We can begin to do this simply by making it a normal subject to talk about.

We can so easily tell an aquaintence or friend that we have a doctor’s appointment to attend, but would never dare to so openly say, “I have to go to therapy tomorrow morning” or “I have to pick up my anti-depressants soon.” Slowly, but surely, as a society, we can eliminate the invisible barrier we have made, by talking about mental illness as if it were any other subject. Another approach could be to have mandatory, informational meetings in ALL of our education systems. Like I mentioned before, many adolescents brush aside their mental illnesses, not knowing how potentially severe it could be. With these meetings we can not only learn how to recognize a serious issue going on in our heads, but recognize signs of struggling peers as well. Since mental illnesses aren’t similar to visual pain, like a broken bone, recognizing the signs can be difficult, yet so important! We had to sit through “sex-ed” all throughout middle school and high school, is mental illness not as important? Without doubt there should be a “mental health – ed.”

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