Youth suicide is defined as when a young person intentionally ends his/her life. This is a serious issue that affects many countries worldwide, and is particularly prevalent in Western societies.
Pre-teen children attempting suicide
During the past 20 years, the number of young children attempting suicide has increased dramatically. It’s not uncommon for a preteen to tell a parent that he or she is thinking of suicide. However, most adults dismiss the possibility because of the perceived incongruity between children and suicide.
Researchers have discovered several factors that increase the risk for suicidal behavior in kids. One is the lack of effective strategies for dealing with problems. The other is access to lethal means, such as guns.
Researchers also found that families are affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide. This may lead to anger or feelings of isolation. A counselor can help a family member cope with the grief. Another option is to join a support group.
Kids who have strong social connections are less likely to die by suicide. These connections provide an emotional foundation, helping kids feel safe and supported. They can also help a teen cope with challenges.
Transition from suicidal ideation to actual suicide
Suicide is one of the most prevalent causes of death in youths. It is the second leading cause of death for adolescents 14 to 18 years of age. Various socio-political factors and economic strain have also been associated with increased suicide rates.
A study involving a large sample of youths reveals that the prevalence of suicidal ideation is highest among sexual minority youths. In addition, the trend of suicide attempts has risen during 2009-2019.
The survey results revealed that the lifetime probability of suicide ideation is 30 percent. This percentage is similar to the risk in adults. However, the lifetime probability of making a suicide attempt is higher.
An additional factor that may contribute to the high rate of suicidal attempt among adolescents is hopelessness. Research suggests that the risk for suicide ideation is inversely related to the closeness of the father in adolescence. Also, suicides are more likely to occur in those who are unable to access a psychiatric treatment.
Association between impulsivity and suicide
A review of studies on the association between impulsivity and suicide among youth reveals that there are various ways in which these factors have been operationalized. Some have used self-reporting to assess impulsivity and some have relied on computerized measurements.
Impulsivity is defined as a predisposition for unplanned reactions and is associated with risk-taking, sensation seeking and behavioral disinhibition. Several factors, such as cognitive and dynamic impulsivity, may contribute to this relationship.
Impulsivity has been shown to be significantly greater in depressive patients than in healthy controls. This may have influenced their suicide attempts. Depressive patients also had difficulties in executive functions. They performed poorly in the Stroop Test, Part 4.
In the present study, the relationship between impulsivity and suicidality was not moderated by the population or by the measure of aggression. However, the relationship was moderated by the time between the suicide attempt and the assessment of impulsivity. It was a weak relationship, and not statistically significant.
The relationship between impulsivity and suicide lethality was also weak. This may have been due to the small sample.
Effective suicide prevention engages the entire school community. It teaches students about the available resources, identifies adolescents with mental disorders, and trains staff. This helps imbed positive student behavior expectations, thereby reducing the risk of suicide.
Research shows that suicide rates among young people in the United States have increased in the past decade, with Black male teens having the highest rates. These figures are alarming. There are also many factors that increase a child’s risk of suicide. A parent should learn about these factors and be ready to discuss it with their child.
To prevent youth suicide, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior. School staff should be aware of these warning signs and take action when needed. They must ensure that the teen is not exposed to lethal means, such as firearms.
Social programs are an effective way to reduce isolation and promote connectedness. Students who participate in these programs learn how to deal with future life stressors and build emotionally supportive relationships.