Suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 24 (Stanford Children’s hospital). Suicide rates are increasing and talking about suicide is no where to be seen in society. Suicide is the act of killing oneself. There is a need for talks for mental health more now than ever in this world especially to the youth, some schools have speakers come and talk to teens about suicide but its been shown to have little help, so teens need more people that have the ability to have talks about suicide and can help those in need eventhough teens don’t really know what needing help looks like. Many of those who need help don’t open up for fear of how they’ll be looked at becasue suicide is a taboo topic. While screenings can be wrong, many people don’t know what the signs of suicide look like, suicide should become a normal part of health screenings or life because suicide is seen as a taboo topic of conversation, which has lead to suicide becoming one of the leading causes of teen death which can be prevented.
First, a main issue facing teen suicide is that many are under educated on what suicide and Mental illness looks like. Mental illness is a mental disorder the afflicts your mental health. An example of this is that kids have to much pressure on them says Denise Pope of Stanford University “I’ve spoken with many kids who tell me, ‘I’m studying as hard as I can and my parents are saying I just need to study harder.’ These kids stay up all night and focus 100 percent on schoolwork to get ahead,” (NeaToday). This shows that kids are being pushed beyond their limits, stressing them out, which is leading them to worsen their mental health leading them to be more likely to be depressed. Mental health is the well being of your mind. Another example that kids have way too much pressure on them was found when Kathy Reamy a school counselor said “There’s just so much going on in this day and age, the pressures to fit in, the pressure to achieve, the pressure of social media. And then you couple that with the fact that kids can’t even feel safe in their schools—they worry genuinely about getting shot—and it all makes it so much harder to be a teenager.” (NeaToday). These kinds of things push teens to worsen the state of their mental health. Teens all use social media to feel like teens are a part of everything that’s going on and get the most amount of likes for that small amount of dopamine for that temporary validation. Not meeting the expectation of the attention you thought you’d get for your post, leads some of us to isolate ourselves from the real world, because all teens seek is that validation. In the rise of what’s become the worst time for school shootings post columbine, many of us go to school and live in fear that teens could be the next national headline. Teens also are coupled with the pressure to fit in and be like everyone else, but then teens don’t really feel like they’re theirselves, these years are supposed to be used to make teens their own person, and not a carbon copy of what is hot, those who try be themselves end up isolated from everyone else. Teens in high school are met with the growing pressure to achieve, high school students are meant with cracking down and deciding their future and where they want to go to make their future dreams a reality, added with the fact where they want to go has standards the students have to meet.
Next, an issue is that many don’t have access to mental health screenings because normal health screenings that most people have access to don’t have a mental health aspect. There are many schools trying to implement mental health screenings within the school say like with Elizabeth Minnie, from a school in Austin, Texas. Minnie who is recalling old times with a former student, for the case of newcomer it helped her a lot, it gave her someone that could advocate for her needs to her teachers and parents (Washington Post). A system like this works as you can see, teens don’t want to open up to parents and kids directly, but having that middle man to help leads to teens being able to open up more, which leads to those who wouldn’t open up to be able to. Another problem that society is running into is the lack of counselors in school, to meet the growing need for the increasing student population. This is shown by the student to counselor to student ratio being on average four hundred-eighty-two to one (EdWeekly.org). The population is only growing so this ratio is only going to rise, so teens will be missing out on the ability to talk about their future and how they feel. Having the ability to have someone to help guide you on the path that will help lead to what you wanna do in life would help teens be less stress and worried about the future a problem that faces all teens. The amount of counselors in schools is far too low to effectively reach all those that want and need help, society has many teens who are lost and don’t know what to do to be farther in life, these teens are lost in life and are drowning in the expectations of others which are making them more susceptible to fall to mental illness, to far worse it could end in suicide.
Also, another problem facing teens are that they either do not know how to or do not want to talk about how they feel. Many parents don’t know how to start the conversation. Rhonda Boyd a clinical psychologist with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has stated 'We identified that really large numbers of parents were unaware that their youth were thinking about killing themselves, and 75 percent did not know their kids were thinking a lot about death and dying,' (TCA Regional News). The silence facing many teens make them feel like they’re all alone, they don’t wanna be alone but they don’t know who they can trust so they stay silent. Society needs to open up the conversation of suicide to a new place, we currently view it as a taboo. Teens also stay silent because their parents tend to try guide and give advice instead of listen to their teens, Jordan Burnham, a suicide survior says 'I know for some parents, the immediate reaction is to give some guidance, give some feedback, but in all honesty, a lot of kids just want to be heard,”(The Philadelphia Inquirer) and 'The unfortunate thing I hear over and over again from students is their parents are invalidating their feelings and what theyre going through.' (The Philadelphia Inquirer). These quotes show that teens tend to suffer in silence because they prefer it to be guided through with information that doesn’t help, because many parents don’t wanna see their kids suffer and want to help them, even though they don’t understand.
Although, many people see a complete other way to approach this, everyone wants the problem of suicide to reach an end. Many people see no need for mental health screenings for teens, they think the teens are just being lazy, over dramatic, or just wanting attention, yet this isn’t true teens have the same complex emotions as adults and have the same ability to fall mentally ill. People also see the use of mental health screenings in schools as an invasion of privacy, however his also would have an easy way to avoid, by having parents consent to the meetings in schools before they happen. Many think suicide is taboo and is not a topic that needs to be talked about openly, but in reality many people have these kinds of thoughts in people of all ages, so to devalue those younger who suffer from these thoughts are just immoral, everyone should be able to feel safe in how they feel. Parents often misjudge the importance of mental health blowing it off like the kids are just making things up, although the parents are often the cause of some of their teens mental health problems, from their silence to the amount of pressure they crumble under and fall mentally ill to.
Finally, while screenings can be wrong, many people don’t know what the signs of suicide look like, suicide should become a normal part of health screenings or life because suicide is seen as a taboo topic of conversation, which has lead to suicide becoming one of the leading causes of teen death which can be prevented. Many people suffer from losing to suicide, shouldn’t we all want to reach an end to this plague of mental health issues. There are so many different causes for this problem, that we all need to work together to better the world. So shouldn’t we all wanna reach the end of this problem, that is ending so many lives.
- Girodano, Rita. “Many Parents Whose Teens Have Thought About Suicide Don't Know It...” TCA Regional News, 14 Jan. 2019.
- Leffler, David. “Mental-Health Clinics at Schools Show Their Value.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2019, explore.proquest.com/sirsissuesresearcher/document/2321927911?accountid=66001.
- Khadaroo, Stacy. “Teen Suicide: Prevention Is Contagious, Too.” The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Dec. 2013, www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2013/1208/Teen-suicide-Prevention-is-contagious-too.
- Posner, Kelly. “Preventing Suicide: Teen Deaths Are on the Rise, but We Know How to Fight Back.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 7 Feb. 2018
- Fuschillo, Alanna. “The Troubling Student-to-Counselor Ratio That Doesn't Add Up.” Education Week, 20 Feb. 2019, www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/08/14/the-troubling-student-to-counselor-ratio-that-doesnt-add.html?cmp=eml-enl-eu-news1&M=58578827&U=1001093.