I was at a volleyball tournament in Franklin. We had just lost the championship game and all my teammates were clearly upset. My coach emerged from the locker room; her eyes were swollen and red from crying. Suddenly, every phone began vibrating, ringing, and lighting up. Confused, I read the thirty- two text messages I had received in the span of ten minutes. Every single one contained the same message, Karen was gone; she had committed suicide. From that day forward the word suicide has never held the same context. Rather than teenage suicide being some controversy discussed in the news, it became a painful reality.
Suicide, the deliberate act of ending one's own life, is currently on the rise and has become the third leading cause of death amongst adolescents and teenagers. In the past twenty-five years, the general occurrence of suicide has decreased, yet the rate for those between ages fifteen and twenty-four have tripled. Depression, major disappointments, rejections, and failures are all proposed causes of suicide. The reasoning behind a person’s decision to take their life is multifaceted and complex, and that reasoning is never fully determined. Even to this day, two years later, I still ponder that never-ending question; why? The motives behind the choice to commit suicide vary from person to person, for it may seem suicide is highly idiosyncratic in nature; however there are certain situations and circumstances that share a common thread.
Majority of youth who die by suicide have a mental disorder; which is often undiagnosed, untreated, or a combination of both. Depression can cause a teenager to feel encompassed by loneliness and the inability to accomplish everyday tasks, causing them to withdraw from family, friends, and school. Granted, life is full of periods of ups and downs, however a chemical imbalance causes the down periods to be lengthened and intensified. Prolonged depression can lead to self-destructive behavior if left untreated. “Depression leads people to focus mostly on failures and disappointments, to emphasize the negative side of their situations, and to downplay their own capabilities or worth” (Lyness). It is important to note that although many people suffering from depression are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Furthermore, there are numerous other mental disorders that can cause an individual to turn to suicide.
Teenagers, who suffer from bipolar disorder, often alternate between periods of depression and mania. These periods are characterized by exuberance, insomnia, irritability and the inability to concentrate. This condition can cause individuals to go through times of extreme depression or times of frantic energy, referred to as mania. These opposite phases can alter judgment and outlook on life. Therefore, it can be challenging to maintain perspective and avoid self-mutilating behavior. Also, schizophrenia is another complicated disease that distorts perceptions of reality. Four...