Youth Suicide Essay

1118 words - 5 pages

From a 2011 CDC survey, 7.8% of teenagers in grade 9-12 in the United States and it’s territories had attempted committing suicide one or more times in the past (CDC 2011)*. The risk factors involved with youth suicide include being bullied, drug use and a lack of a safety and stability. Strain theory contributes to youth suicide as when the kids are bullied or do not do as well in school despite hard work, they may turn away from it and instead seek a way out (___)*. How can being aware of the risk factors and strain theory be used to create ways to prevent youth suicide? What types of programs would allow kids to feel more confident in their goals as well as themselves and thus lower their ...view middle of the document...

This number dramatically increased to 90% when the victim was part of a sexual minority (Intersecting Identities)*. Linked to bullying, the lack of feelings of safety and stability may affect one’s risk for suicide. The lack of safety plays a vital role in the mental health of “street-involved” or homeless youth, who are under constant stress due to their situation. A study out of Quebec, Canada stated that 27-46% of street-involved youth are at a greater risk for suicide (Suicide Attempts)*. Substance abuse is also a primary risk factor in determining the likelihood of a child or teenager committing suicide, primarily due to the distraught state an at-risk individual is already in. The “combination of substance abuse with a comorbid affective disorder also multiplies the likelihood of suicidal behavior” according to ______ (Suicide Attempts)*. Each of these factors may influence another. For instance, a homeless teenager may be bullied and may turn to drugs as a means of escape, thus increases his or her risk of suicide three-fold.
Out of all the criminological theories, Strain theory, originally developed by Robert Merton in the 1950s, may explain the increased risks of suicide among certain youths the best. “Most people have similar aspirations, but they don’t all have the same opportunities or abilities,” according to strain theory and thus “when people fail to achieve society’s expectations through approved means such as hard work and delayed gratification, they may attempt to achieve success through crime” (_____)*. However, in the case of suicide risks among youths, instead of turning to crime, the people who fail to achieve society’s expectations for them or feel they have failed as a result of bullying, may decide instead take their own life. __
How can society take what is known about youth suicide risk factors to help prevent it? For starters, monitoring children and teenagers with certain warning signs, like drug abuse or depression, more closely and intervening if it gets too bad could prevent someone from taking their life. Additionally, providing youths showing these signs of suicide risk with a safe place to go and participate in activities may also help prevent suicide. By showing them that they can still have fun and not always...

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