The fifth commandment in the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill”. It means not to take away other people’s lives. However, it also means not to take away our own lives too but not everyone thinks about this. We all experiences challenges and problems in our lives. Different people choose different ways to face them but some choose to “rest in peace” or to leave this world forever. Nowadays, depression and suicide are dangerous problems that some teenagers are going through.
The truth is almost everyone has to experience depression at some point in life. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression is dangerous because it affects both the mind and the body in the worst way. Sometimes, teenagers who are going through depression feel like life is not worth living. Teens experiencing depression are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than teens not experiencing depression because of the extreme emotional pain and hopelessness they feel ( King and Vidourek 15). Untreated depression is the absolute number one leading cause of teen suicide. What are the causes for this problem? According to a research, normal reactions to loss and stress are the feelings of anxiety and depression. A teen who feels hopeless and helpless to solve problems is more likely to commit suicide.
The reason for that is because most of the time, they concentrate only on their failures and be disappointed about it. Then, they would think nothing positive will happen in the future or it will not be a happy ending for anything. Therefor, suicide is the only way out. Furthermore, drug and alcohol abuse can be a method to calm yourself for anxiety and depression, but many commonly abused substances increase the feelings of depression and anxiety, they actually would trigger the suicide impulse. In addition, sexual and physical abuse is possibly one of the causes for the increase of suicidal risk. A teenager having a past or current abuse, hormonal fluctuations and other stresses in him or her can arouse unresolved anger and shame feelings. Also, being able to access to a gun is indeed a solution for a teen who considers to commit suicide. Firearms are the most common suicide method American teens use to commit suicide (Murphy 44). Not to mention, a depressed adolescent is most likely to have a misconception of things and that can always lead him or her to think that everything as a catastrophe. Obviously, suicide becomes an attractive option from there. For example, a teen who is experiencing a break up with his or her lover can probably be surrounded with negative effects, such as losing face among people in school or feeling unloved. They would see that killing themselves is also ending the sadness and anger in them.
According to a recent study, other important factors for suicide in adolescents include other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use, disruptive behaviors and family conflict (Horowitz 7). Additionally, teens who called themselves gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender usually have negative mental health outcomes, including depression and suicide. Gay and lesbian youth tend to experience depression at higher rates than heterosexual youth and they are reported to commit suicide more frequently. Approximately 17% of homosexual youth have seriously considered suicide or a suicide attempt due to social stress and victimization. The worst thing is that they do not get social support and acceptance very often but they need it (King and Vidourek 16). Now we can tell that there are many causes for teens who want to end their lives. Is teen suicide contagious? The answer for this question is yes.
Accounting for 1% to 5% of teen suicides in the United States, some of them occurs through contagion. It is absolutely crazy how a person’s suicide can influence others to do the same thing. Especially from what the media portraits us with movies, songs and the most significant one, romanticize death. The most typical example is Netflix’s most watched series, “13 Reasons Why”. 13 episodes showing the main character’s suffering with sexual assault, substance abuse, betrayal, and last but not least, cyberbullying. In late April, Robert Avossa, superintendent of schools in Palm Beach parents and teachers, noting a rise in the number of students who would hurt themselves or threatened suicide after seeing the Netflix series (Lyford 11). It is important to not portrait the action of suicide as something great to do through descriptions and pictures on the media because this can encourage other adolescents to seek attention in the same way. It is not hard to tell that teenagers these days are using the internet for attention and communication about suicide.
The media plays an important role in influencing teen suicide, not necessarily “13 reasons why”. Suicide contagion is real, always. We should pay attention to depressing mood from someone. Teen depression warning signs include: having the longest time feeling unhappy as a result of crying non-stop; difficult to sleep or spending too much time sleeping; always tired, feelings of worthlessness, shame, bored; experiencing changes in weight ;loss of interest in once favorite things or activities; having memory loss; talking and moving slowly, can not make decisions and thinking about committing suicide.We don’t have to be a psychologist to pay attention to signs of suicide in teenagers. Some behavioral warning signs for teen suicide are being depressed; changes in appetite, weight, behavior, school performance; feeling hopeless; loss of energy. Teens who are planning to kill themselves are the ones who start to give away personal things which are meaningful to them, or begin to clean their own room. The teen may suddenly become surprisingly cheerful even. Even though they have made the decision to end their own life. This dangerous action occurs when the person experiences any kind of loss or the feeling of humiliation (Greenstone 63). It is usually easy to identify these symptoms and we should go get help for the ones who have these symptoms as soon as possible. There are some myths surrounding teen suicide that need to be dispelled. One of the myths is suicide can occur without warning signs. But in fact, we all can easily tell if a youth is at risk for killing themselves. A lot of people think if an adolescent has already made a suicide attempt in the past, they are most likely to try again just to gain attention from other people. While the idea of committing suicide alone can always predict a future attempt, and of course, a previous attempt is a stronger risk.
Another example is that a lot of us would think once someone decides to die by suicide, there is nothing we can do to stop the decision. However, we can all agree that suicide prevention methods in the world is still not entirely perfect but they are effective and beneficial for sure. Most people think only a professional would be able to identify a person is going to commit suicide. On the other hand, anyone who cares, this includes parents, and involved school personnel, they should be the first people to notice changes in a teenager at risk for suicide. By receiving helps from everyone around, most teenagers can recover from depression fairly quickly. Feeling that they are cared about by loved ones and feeling socially accepted by others can successfully reduce rates of depression and suicide among the young generation. Teens who are well connected to others are less than half as likely to suffer from depression than teens who are not as connected to others. Family plays an important part in suicide prevention too because family connectedness protects against both of having the idea of suicide and attempting it. Family connectedness can always be a great solution to prevent this while teens do not have any friends.
Since youth spend a large amount of time in school, the school is indeed an ideal site for effective prevention and intervention programs. It is always the best solution to have schools that teach students problem-solving skills and coping skills, promote protective factors, address risky behaviors. Schools should be encouraged to adopt a comprehensive depression and suicide prevention program which includes three components: 1/ Skill building, and protective factor promotion; 2/ Early warning signs and appropriate intervention; 3/ Postvention and appropriate follow-up to teen depression and suicide. Effective depression and suicide prevention programs should teach students some safe ways to get depressed teenagers the assistance they need. Clearly, one of our solutions for teenagers to get information on suicide is to bring in speakers who can engage students in honest conversations and provide appropriate resources and materials (Fisher and Frey 81). It is important for these people who are seriously at risk to get support from us.We can not deny the fact that some teens are depressed and have suicidal thoughts because of family (abuse, parents divorce, etc) so “family connectedness” is not always the solution. Still, “family connectedness” is not the only solution. A teen who has been an abuse victim can always go to a psychotherapy to get the problems solved. Additionally, there are different kinds of therapy available for everyone who needs it.
First, there is cognitive behavioral therapy, a cognitive behavioral therapist helps the person identify his or her habitual reactions, then change his or her thinking about situations and emotions towards things. Secondly, there is psychodynamic psychotherapy, it links to depression and conflicts happened in childhood. For example, if a boy was abused as a child and does not feel good about himself, the therapist helps him understand the link between his feelings today and feelings related to the abuse. The last one is psychotherapy, which is as known as the “talk” therapy. This one is basically getting the patient to meet with a professional to discuss issues and feelings. A lot of people think that schools would have to use more money to hire an organization or speakers to solve this problem but it does not always success. Nevertheless, schools can always form their own depression and suicide prevention organization by the student body. There should be enough students to would volunteer to do this job. Not to mention, this is much easier more helpful since it would be people who go to the same school: their classmates, their friends, their teammates who are helping them. With teens, it can be particularly difficult to understand all that is going on around them. Things change, so do feelings and inner turmoil. Those who talk about suicide may actually do it. It is a myth to think overwise.
In conclusion, both teen depression and suicide are the most dangerous mental health issues. They deserve our time and attention. We can not deny that people who are depressed and want to end their lives will find it hard to talk to anyone how they feel. But remember that you do not have to be a psychologist to pay attention to the signs of suicide in teenagers or to take actions when needed. The small acts of talking and listening can make a big difference that we can never imagine. Just like the one of the famous sayings, “positivity is key”. To anyone who is reading this, sometimes you need to understand that it is your job to save lives.