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Essay/Term paper: Teenage suicide

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Sociology Term Papers

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Teenage Suicide

Suicide is intentional self-inflicted acts that end in death("Suicide,"
Compton's). After a series of traumatic events, normal coping abilities can be
pushed over the edge; the result may be suicide. In each year, an average of
30,000 suicide deaths occur in the United States. It is estimated that 5,000 of
those suicides are committed by teenagers(SAVE, 2). One major reason that the
suicide rate among teenagers is so high, is that the teenage years are a period
of commotion. New social roles are being learned, new relationships are being
developed, bodily changes are occurring, and decisions about the future are
being made during the teenage years.
Teenagers tend to commit suicide after large changes, significant losses,
or abuse has occurred in their lives. An important change in a relationship,
school or body image may contribute to a teenagers' tendency to commit suicide.
The death of a loved one, the loss of a valued relationship, and the loss of
self esteem are some significant losses which might be a factor in teen
suicide("The Real World [Suicide: Facts]," 1). Perceived abuse such as
physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, social abuse or neglect can lead to
self-murder("Teen Suicide," 3). Significant changes, losses, and abuse can
promote suicidal tendencies.
Few suicidal people have some type of depression, yet those who have one
can be provoked to commit suicide. There are two main types of depression
suffered by suicidal people("Suicide," {Grolier}). The first type is reactive
depression. This type of depression is the reaction of a difficult and often
traumatic experience. Endogenous depression is the second type of depression.
It is the result of a mental illness which is diagnosable by a professional.
Some suicidal people have a combination of both reactive depression and
endogenous depression. Others could have a depression which is undiagnosed. A
persistent sad mood, thoughts of suicide, persistent physical pains that do not
respond to treatment, difficulty concentrating, irritability and fatigue are
some symptoms of depression(American Psychiatric Association, 4). If a person
has four or more of the symptoms lasting for more than two weeks, that person
could have a type of depression. Those people with mental illnesses such as
schizophrenia and clinical depression have much higher suicide rates than
average(Tom Arsenault, 2).
Teenagers display warning signs of suicide. The indications come in two
ways. First exhibited are the early warning signs. These signs include
difficulties in school, depression, drug abuse, sleep and eating disturbances,
and a loss of interest in activities. Restlessness, feelings of failure,
overreaction to criticism, overly self-critical, anger, and a preoccupation with
death or Satan are also some signals teenagers contemplating suicide will
give("Teen Suicide," 3).
The other type of clues are late warning signs. Talking about death,
neglecting appearance, a feeling of hopelessness, a sudden improvement in
personality, and giving away possessions are some of the typical late warning
signs given by a suicidal teenager("Teen Suicide," 4). Not everyone who
portrays these symptoms is suicidal. In order to know if a person is really
thinking about committing suicide, someone needs to ask them. Offering other
ways to deal with a suicidal persons' problems, may save their life. Most
teenagers contemplating suicide would not commit it, if they knew of another way
out. By talking with someone who is suicidal, that person might see that there
are people who love them.
Despite the efforts of people to stop a teenager from committing suicide,
some succeed. The statistics of considered and completed suicide are shocking.
Ten percent of teenage boys admit that they have attempted suicide. Girls in
their teens have a much higher percentage(eighteen percent), which will admit
that they unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide. A teenager in 1990 was twice
as likely to die from suicide than a teenager growing up in 1960. One of the
most startling teenage suicide facts is that since 1961, there has been a
tripling of completed teenage suicide("The Real World [Suicide: Facts]," 1-3).
When a teenager is able to successfully commit suicide, they leave
behind family and friends. In a normal death situation, people usually feel
grief. When a teenager performs suicide, family and friends left behind
experience many feelings. A feeling of confusion and great distress over
unresolved issues is very common. Family members and friends often feel anger
and resentment after a suicide. These emotions can cause friends and family to
become very isolated feeling. A friend or family member may find that it is
difficult to relate to other people after a suicide. These people may decide
that other people view them as a failure because they were unable to stop
someone close to them from committing suicide. A fear of forming new
relationships after a person has completed suicide is common. People feel that
by creating new relationships, they might be hurt and experience the same pain
they are going through.
In order to help people who have experienced the suicide of someone they
deeply cared about, "survivor groups" have been created ("Suicide-Frequently
Asked Questions," 6). Knowing they will be accepted without being judged or
condemned, helps a person go to a "survivor group." At a meeting, the people's
intense burden of unresolved feelings may be lessened.
Suicide is the third leading killer among teenagers(SAVE-Suicide
AwarenessVoices of Education, 6). Suicide can be committed for a number of
reasons. Anyone who talks about suicide, should be taken to see a professional.
The most important way to prevent suicide is to talk.


American Psychiatric Association. "Teen Suicide." APA
Joint Commission on Public Affairs and the Division
of Public Affairs. 1988. Pages 1-5.

Arsenault, Tom. "Did You Know?" http://www.save.org/
index.html//save@winternet.com. 1996. Pages 1-4.

"The Real World [Suicide: Facts]." http://www.paranois.
com/%7Ereal/suicide/facts.html. 1996. Pages 1-3.

SAVE-Suicide AwarenessVoices of Education. http://www.
save.org. 1996. Pages 1-6.

"Suicide." Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia.
Compton's NewMedia, Inc. 1994.

"Suicide-Frequently Asked Questions." Oxford University
Libraries Automation Service. http://www.lib.ox.
19 July 1996. Pages 1-8.

"Suicide." Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia. Grolier
Electronic Publishing, Inc. 1995.

"Teen Suicide." American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry. 1996. Pages 1-5.


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