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Teen Suicide: A Growing Epidemic Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

Danny Pullman was only nine years old when he first considered suicide. At summer camp and away from home for the first time, he felt that was the only solution to end his anxiety and unhappiness. Although he didn't go through with it at that time, when he was a senior in high school he again decided suicide was the only way out of his stress and feelings of hopelessness. He decided his exit route would be by cutting his wrists.Teen suicide has been on the rise for the last decade and shows no signs of slowing down. While not all attempts at suicide are "successful", an unfortunately large number of them are. Analysts are at a loss as to why certain cities, such as Plano, Texas, have larger than average numbers of adolescent suicide. Some feel when one teen commits suicide, it urges others to go through with it as well. This can create the sense of an epidemic of suicides in one city, and when that city is a smaller suburban area with only one or perhaps two high schools, then the numbers of suicides can seem alarming indeed.Even though our teens are taking less drugs than in prior years, suicide remains a growing problem. Suicide is becoming so serious and common, in fact, that the medical community is re-evaluating how to identify and treat suicidal adolescents. The result of these studies has been a storm of new prevention initiatives, including an MTV ad campaign set tolaunch this year that will attempt to a therapy for depressed teens. There are more than five hundred schools expected to offer "depression screenings" next year as well.Most experts say the efforts are long overdue: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "eight percent of students in grades 9 through 12 attempted suicide in the past year. And in the past two decades, the suicide rate among children ages ten to fourteen has doubled" (Mulrine 64).When asked why they attempted suicide, many teen survivors said they "felt trapped, like there was no way out except to kill myself" (Mulrine 64). What they don't think about, say the experts, is that suicide is a very permanent solution to temporary problems. Almost every teen survivor of suicide, when questioned about why he or she attempted it, named a problem that could be solved in some way--a solution much preferable to suicide.Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, and self-doubt. Additionally, they may be pressured to succeed, have financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up. For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a "new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. In some cases, suicide appears to be a solution" (Clinical Reference Systems 1457).Because most school have school psychologists and counselors who are, perhaps, the most available sources of mental health expertise to those age groups most susceptible to suicide, it would seem both logical and appropriate that these...

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