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Save A Life Essay

1494 words - 6 pages

Throughout their education, children sit through countless bullying and sex education programs, but suicide, the third leading cause of adolescent deaths (Caine 1), is practically ignored. Many schools only offer hot lines for suicidal students. While some schools have implemented suicide prevention programs and the government has recognized teenage suicide as a growing problem, effective solutions need to be discovered and funded to prevent these catastrophic deaths. The U.S. federal government should develop and fund suicide prevention programs in high schools, while focusing on strategies ranging from coping mechanisms to drug intervention and screening methods.
As a growing cause of death for teenagers, suicide is a crucial issue in the United States. Even though suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages fourteen to nineteen, “this statistic does not truly provide an accurate representation of the prevalence of the problem” (Cooper 696). Many adolescents consider or attempt suicide without succeeding, and for those that do die, many of the deaths are categorized as accidents or attributed to an unknown cause (Fineran 14). Specifically considering high school students, “in 2009, 13.8% of [teenagers] reported seriously considering suicide in the previous 12 months, while 10.9% of students made a suicide plan, and 6.3% of students attempted suicide” (Erickson 284). More governmental action needs to be taken to prevent these unnecessary deaths.
There has been federal governmental action to lower teenage suicide rates. “The first federal attention to the issue of adolescent suicide was the Youth Suicide and Prevention Act of 1985 which provided funds for school-based prevention programs” (Cooper 697). This legislation provided monetary support, but offered “no standards driving school-based programs; there was no standard school curriculum; and there were no standards for continuing education for those required to intervene” (698). To provide a curriculum for school-based suicide programs, President George W. Bush signed a bill to fund prevention programs throughout the country in 2004. The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health “authorize[d] a total of $82 million dollars…to [fund] state strategies that create or expand youth suicide prevention programs” (“Advocates” 1). While the Youth Suicide and Prevention Act just provided funds, the New Freedom Commission tried to create programs and improve existing ones. However, in reality, the New Freedom Commission gave more funds, but no more effective programs than the Youth Suicide and Prevention Act. This was because The New Freedom Commission did not require the actual implementation of any suicide program and indicated that parental consent is required for mental health intervention and prevention activities (1). Current president, Barrack Obama, continues to try to combat mental health problems and help suicidal citizens. Under the Affordable Care Act,...

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