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The Factors And Preventions Of Teen Suicide

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In this paper, I plan to argue that teen suicide is a serious issue in the society we live in today. It is starting to become more common among the teens in our community. People all around us are constantly being affected by this issue. In my hometown, Woodstock in 2016, five teens committed suicide within weeks of each other. This weighed heavily on my community during this time. People even started to label it as a suicide pact. Students from within the area staged a walkout to protest. I have had many close friends and family affected. We need to consider possible reasons why our youth is crying for help at such a young age. What is our generation doing so differently that is causing our teens to not want to live anymore? Evidence states that teens of today’s communities are at a high risk of suicide which is beginning to negatively impact our generation. People of the community and mental health professionals should take more precaution regarding their teens’ well-being.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, adolescents, and young adults age 5-to-24 years old” (Aacap, n.d.). Just sit and think about that statement for a minute, “suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents” (Aacap, n.d.). I do not know about you, but this statement weighs heavy on my heart. Why is this happening? Being a teenager should be the most exciting time of your life. A time where you welcome change and embrace it with open arms. A time when you plan for the future and live life to the fullest. Although all of this seems tremendous, it is not always the case. The majority of adolescents who commit suicide or attempt to do so are the ones we normally do not recognize as being in a crisis. They could be the ones we least expect it to happen to —–the ones we see smiling, laughing, and having a good time with their friends. It can even be the ones engaging in student activities and who are the most popular. Little do we know that they could be hiding it all deep down inside. “Many people who commit suicide do so without letting on that they are thinking about it or planning it” (Skerrett, 2017, par. 2). However, some do mention it from time to time. They may say things like, “ I’d be better off dead” or “if I see you again” (Skerrett, 2017, par. 10). For me these are very alarming statements. Could you imagine someone saying that to you? I cannot even comprehend how they must be feeling. “Most teens that have been interviewed after a suicide attempt say that what causes teen suicide are feelings of hopelessness and helplessness” (Tracyn, 2015, par. 2). There are many more reasons than just those two that are contributing to this issue. To start, being a teenager can be pretty difficult at times, especially when you first enter high school. This can be a huge change for some people and a big leap from what they were used to or comfortable with. High school can be a headache within itself; students are battling every day with peer pressure, extra-curricular activities, academic pressure, and friends. That is a lot for one person to handle and that is not even all of it. No wonder many teens feel like their only way out of these situations is to die. “Teens may feel like they have no control to change their situations or issues” (Tracyn, 2015, par. 2). They do not know how to deal with these things. “Suicide rates can be different between males and females. Males are four times more likely than females to commit suicide and women are more likely to have thoughts of suicide” (Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Treatment, n.d.). Male suicide rates are higher because men are more prone to use more reckless approaches to suicide attempts such as jumping from high buildings, or hanging (Lyness, 2015, par. 7).

Some of the causes that can increase possible suicide or suicidal attempts in adolescents can stem from things such as mental health problems, major life changes, being a victim of bullying, and lack of a social network (Lyness, 2015, par. 10). All these things can have a major impact in the lives of teens we see every day, especially depression, we see that quite a lot in our generation. Depression and adolescent suicide are very closely linked together. “Teens experiencing depression are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than teens not experiencing depression and greater than half who complete suicide had major depression” (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 1). Personally, I know that depression is a real thing. It can negatively start to impact your life if it is not dealt with properly. One of my close friends struggled with depression and is still struggling. Depression can alter a person’s view of the world. It can cause them to sink to a really low point in their life and experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear, and even possibly regret (The Link Between Depression and Suicide, 2003, par. 5). Females are more prone to mental illnesses or suicidal thoughts because of their sleep cycles and hormones that come with the stage of life they are in (The Link Between Depression and Suicide, 2003, par. 4). A lot of adolescent females suffer from lack of sleep due to school schedules. Many of them stay up late doing homework then get up early the next morning and repeat it over again. It can have a significant impact on their lives and possibly contribute to depression. Depression can last for a long period of time and if it does not stop, a young teen can be in a lot of danger. They can start to think “thoughts about death, negative thoughts about one’s self, and a sense of worthlessness. Depressed thinking can convince someone that there is nothing worth living for” (The Link Between Depression and Suicide, 2003, par. 6). This is a real problem for adolescents and has increased the risk of suicide. A lot of teens do not realize when they are in this state of mind that there is a way out, and that suicide is not the answer. People do care about them and they can get better over time (The Link Between Depression and Suicide, 2003, par. 7). I feel that it is time that we start to educate our youth on these issues or concerns that they may have. It is ok to not be ok.

Major life changes can also play a huge part in the increase of suicide such as a parent’s divorce, a recent break-up, failing in school, and even having problems with friends (Tracyn, 2015, par. 5). All these things can have a major impact in their lives. Although it might seem like not a big issue or concern to us, to teens it might feel like their whole world is crumbling into pieces. They may start to feel like everything that has happened to them is their fault. “Teens may feel like their feelings are unbearable, and will never end, so the only way to escape is suicide” (Tracyn, 2015, par. 3).

Bullying can also contribute to this issue as well. It can start at such a young age that people might not even realize that the things that they are saying can be hurtful, especially when we use sarcasm. Sometimes statements can go a lot farther than we wanted them to. Unfortunately, over the years, bullying has increased not just in schools, but online as well. It has increased over the past few years in our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community more than ever before (Brown, 2010, p. 1). “A public survey indicated that 80 percent of LGBT students report regular harassment by fellow students” (Brown, 2010, p. 1). These youth are constantly facing battles every day of discrimination in the classroom, the internet, or physical abuse in the neighbourhood (Brown, 2010, p. 1). It is a big problem and it is compelling our teens to want to end their lives. It has not only impacted the lives of these youth, but also their friends, family, and communities. We need to draw more attention to these situations. No person should want to end his or her life because he/she is different and does not conform to standards of our society. That is completely unacceptable! What does that say about our character as a nation? We should be embracing those that are different and help them flower into the people they are truly meant to be. Everyone deserves to be cherished and accepted for who they are (Brown, 2010, p. 2). Adolescents already have a lot of issues to deal with; they do not need anything else to be added onto their plate. In order to stop this issue of discrimination on our LGBT youth, we need to educate people. The more a person is educated, he/she is less likely to be judgmental.

“Research indicates that most teens that are suicidal show warning signs and possess certain risk factors” (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 2). Being proactive early on can really benefit the young life that is at risk. The sooner one can take action in these circumstances, the more helpful it can be later on for the individual (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 1). “Warnings can consist of three major groups. These groups are classified as behavioural warning signs, verbal warning signs, and stressful life events” (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 2). Behavioural warning signs are composed of actions. Some examples of behavioural warning signs that could be exhibited are a lack of enthusiasm in favourite activities, alcohol or drug use, and changes in physical appearance (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 2). Verbal warning signs can be things that are said to another person or just specific things they say out loud that isn’t directed at anyone (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 2). Those statements can be things like “My family would be better off without me” or “I cannot stand living alone anymore” (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 2). Stressful life events is another major indicator that things could begin to get bottled up and cause a teen to become isolated. It can be small things that people on the outside might not even know about such as a death in the family, problems with relationships, or even sickness (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 1). I think that it is important for everyone to stay alert to all of these things. If you see or know anyone in trouble please be proactive about it. Our society needs to make changes to fix these issues. It is important for the public to educate not only our youth, but everyone. We need to stop the stigma that society is putting on individuals about their mental health. It is not benefiting anyone; it is just making things worse.

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Suicide is completely unacceptable and is preventable. I think that the society we live in has grown massively over the years and has changed the way we live. Every single day more teens are dying from this same issue, suicide. It is absolutely horrific to think that my generation has caused people to want to take their life. You would think that with all of our technological advancements that have been made that these would pull us closer together, but in reality it has driven us farther apart. It is tearing friends, family, and communities apart, but maybe that is the issue. We live in a generation that if something is broken we just move on to something bigger or better. We never want to fix the issues. Then when someone asks for help or goes to seek it, they get judged for being different and get centered out. Our generation has laid one too many teens in the ground. So many of us young people have lost too many friends. They were too young to die and had so much to live for. I think that our society needs to continue talking about these issue that are going on. The more people talk about it, the more it will help decrease the stigma around it. “It also raises awareness about the warning signs and the roles we can play to help those battling mental health to get the care they need” (Staples, 2018, par. 3). It almost seems like this issue of suicide is always hushed up and nobody wants to talk about it. Whenever it comes up as a topic, people get uncomfortable; and quiet, and do not know what to say. If we want to make this problem change, we need to talk about it. We need to get uncomfortable and put everything out on the table. Our communication and social skills need to increase. It is our job as a society to make sure that all of our people feel comfortable including our adolescents. They should be able to feel like they are living in a safe environment and can express the way they are feeling without any backlash. They need to know that it is ok to be hurting and confused. It is part of growing up, and suicide is not the answer.

How can society makes changes to fix these issues? I think that our society can and will benefit from many changes. There are many different strategies and intervention programs that our communities can benefit from. To start, I think that the first intervention program that our government should implement is The Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program (King KA, Strunk CM, Sorter MT, n.d., p. 2). I believe that this program is effective and could possibly be the beginning of where we first reach success. The majority of adolescents are enrolled in a local high school. By using this program in the school system, we have the possibility of reaching more than half the young people in our communities. During these teachings, the students are given “factual information regarding depression risk factors, suicidal warning signs, risk factors, and common myths associated with suicide” (King KA, Strunk CM, Sorter MT, n.d., p. 2). The main purpose of this program is to teach the students how to distinguish suicidal behaviours in other individuals and in themselves (King KA, Strunk CM, Sorter MT, n.d., p. 2). While teaching The Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program, they use real stories about individuals who have died by suicide or have had suicidal attempts. For me, this method of teaching stands out and I think the reason for that is because they are sharing real stories from individuals in their age group. It allows the young people to see that other individuals just like them have suffered through these things. I feel that the students will really be able to connect with this and start to care more about this issue. I strongly believe that this teaching method will have a real impact on their lives and stay with them forever. Maybe one day when someone is in a crisis, we will be able to help that individual because we were educated about it. “About 9 out 10 (87.3%) adolescents felt that this program should be offered to all high school students” (King KA, Strunk CM, Sorter MT, n.d., p. 1).

Secondly, our society can help prevent suicide by building social support networks. “This can consist of friends, family, a peer support or support groups, or connections with a cultural or faith community” (Preventing Suicide, n.d.). I think this is one of the best methods to help teens. They need to have a strong support system if they are going to succeed, especially when they are going through rough times. Having a support system can be so beneficial; they are places and people you can go to and seek guidance or help when you need it. Authority figures need to make sure that their teens are engaging in all these social aspects and have good connections in all these places. It will help insure the teens’ well-being. “The feeling of social connectedness is one such protective factor that is directly associated with positive emotional health” (King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A., 2012, p. 1).

Another way our society can help prevent suicide is by informing the public of places people can go when they are need. The government could start by making more commercials and posting flyers around the cities, so that everyone is always kept informed. Just because we think everyone knows about places they can go to get help, does not mean that they do. If teens are experiencing hardships or problems they can use the Canadian Mental Health Association, call a crisis line, and even 911 as a last resort (Preventing Suicide, n.d.).

Fourth and finally, our communities could benefit from having more access to prevention treatments such as different kinds of therapies. Some of the therapies that would help our youth are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Treatment, n.d.). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is used for patients battling disorders. This treatment is effective because it helps redirect negative thoughts and learn new ways of dealing with them, so that they can be used for good (Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Treatment, n.d.). Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is used to help identify negative feelings or possible actions a person might do if they are in distress. This therapy teaches different coping skills and methods to help a person who is struggling. “DBT has been shown to decrease the prevalence of attempted suicide but has shown no effect on completed suicides” (Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Treatment, n.d.).

In conclusion, teen suicide is a huge issue in the society we live in today. It affects not only males, but females as well. There are many different causes and issues associated with it. I strongly believe that if we start to make changes in our communities that things can be different. Only we have the power to change. It is unfortunate how many people are affected and how it has really impacted their perspective on life. If we do not start to make changes now, there is no telling what things could like in years to come. What if we just stand by and watch? What will happen then? Do you think we could really make a change?


  1. Aacap. (n.d.). Retrieved from or_families/fff- guide/teen-suicide-010.aspx
  2. Brown, S. (2010). Sen. Brown Gives First ‘It Gets Better’ Address on Senate Floor: Addresses
  3. Recent Teen Suicides and Bullying; Tells Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth that ‘It Gets Better’. Congressional Documents and Publications.doi:file:///home/chronos/u-b51a80d0267e3a04f59f9af90c941c59eec93d9d/Downloads/ProQuestDocuments-2019-03-22.pdf
  4. King, K. A., Strunk CM, Sorter MT. Preliminary effectiveness of Surviving the Teens® Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program on adolescents’ suicidality and self-efficacy in performing help-seeking behaviors. J Sch Health, 81(9), 581-590.doi:
  5. King, K. A., & Vidourek, R. A. (2012). Teen depression and suicide: Effective prevention and intervention strategies. The Prevention Researcher, 19(4), 15-17. doi:10.1037/e535022013-005.
  6. Lyness, D. (Ed.). (2015, August). About Teen Suicide (for Parents). Retrieved from
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  8. Skerrett, P. J. (2017, November 28). Suicide often not preceded by warnings. Retrieved from
  9. Staples, G. B. (2018, June 20). Are suicides really preventable? The statistics aren’t encouraging. Retrieved from
  10. Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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