The definition of youth suicide differs according to country and time. It is difficult to find literature pertaining to the suicide of children under the age of five, but the majority of research focuses on the behavior of adolescents aged 13 to 20 years. It is common for young people to experience mental health issues, especially because the young are undergoing transitions and movement, and must make significant decisions regarding their futures. It is especially important to understand the factors that contribute to the risk of suicide in youth.
The symptoms of depression in youth are characterized by sudden, drastic changes in eating habits, lack of interest in activities, and decreased academic performance. Other warning signs include increased irritability, a feeling of hopelessness, and giving away cherished possessions. Suicidal thoughts are often associated with other mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. There are many factors that contribute to suicide among youth, and a lack of support from friends and family is a risk factor.
Researchers believe the increasing number of youth suicides could be due to changes in family life and society. The decline of family cohesion was blamed for a wide range of youth problem behaviors, including suicide. As a result, the population of families in western countries began to change, embracing sexual freedom and changing expectations. These changes are thought to have contributed to the increased incidence of youth suicide. While the causes of suicide remain unclear, experts are considering possible causes and ways to prevent it.
Since the 1950s, the rate of youth suicide in the United States has steadily risen. Suicide rates in this age group made up less than 5% of all U.S. deaths, but the rate is still twice as high as before. The statistics for suicide among 15-to-24-year-olds tripled from 6.3 per 100,000 people to 21.3 per 100,000 people in the 1980s. Despite these alarming figures, youth suicide is still a significant issue in our society.
Despite the numerous causes of youth suicide, there are few effective ways to prevent the young person from taking their own life. Various interventions have been tried and shown to reduce the rate of suicide among youth. Some of these include:
If your adolescent is in crisis, the first step is to see a doctor. A mental health specialist can assess the teen and make recommendations for further care. Visiting a physician or mental health specialist is important, as suicidal thoughts tend to come and go. In addition, teens need help managing their emotions. With proper treatment, youth suicide rates will decrease. So, if you suspect your adolescent is struggling with depression, get help for them immediately.
Despite a rising trend, it is still too early to tell whether or not the epidemic of youth suicide is the first in a generation. Research suggests that adolescents are more suggestible than older adults, and prone to imitating the behavior of others. A new CDC survey indicates that more than 75% of young adults aged eighteen to twenty-four have experienced adverse mental health conditions and 25% have seriously considered suicide in the 30 days before their survey. Some other factors that contribute to high suicide rates are school shootings and the prohibitive costs of college.
During the teenage years, parents may have to deal with a child’s reluctance to talk about their feelings, or they may feel uncomfortable. If a child cannot talk about his or her feelings to a parent, they should seek help from a trusted counselor. Parents may feel uncomfortable discussing their child’s feelings, but it is important to keep in mind that a suicide survivor needs a relationship and connection.
There are several ways to identify a youth at risk for suicide. Pediatric health clinicians and other adults who work with youth can determine if a child is at risk for suicide and begin intervening with them. Peer and family members can also identify at-risk youth and provide assistance. However, only a few studies have proven effective at preventing youth suicide. Nevertheless, it is important to identify young people at risk for suicide to prevent it from becoming a statistic.
Although the rate of suicide in adolescents and young adults is 1 in every 10,000, the incidence is more prevalent among boys than in girls. Boys are four times more likely to die of suicide than girls, and they are also more likely to attempt to use firearms to kill themselves. Girls often resort to drug overdose or cutting themselves. However, they are more likely to attempt suicide if they have tried drugs or alcohol. So, they must seek help before it’s too late.