Raising Awareness for Teen Suicide

It seems to be so common around the world today, almost a normality. “Local teen tragically commits suicide”, a newspaper headline reads. It is yet another young life lost too early and is lost due to unfortunate yet often preventable circumstances. There are many options besides suicide teens and young adults have, and all that is required is knowing these options all together.


The death of any human being is a heartbreaking, yet the occurrence of suicide comes across more shocking than other cases. About 20% of teens experience depression before adulthood, but only one third  of the 20% are currently being treated for their depression.


Why is the number of teens being treated for depression so low?


Many teens are afraid to talk to an adult or friend about their struggles because they are afraid of judgement, and a lack of assimilation or acceptance from others. Teen depression is a real issue in today’s society. Self-hatred, self harm, and even suicide could result from untreated depression. Suicide is third on the charts for the leading cause of death in ages 15 to 24.


Teens who take their life often experience one or more of the following: some type of bullying, whether it be someone online or in person; sexual, physical, or mental abuse from someone they previously trusted; the death of a friend or family member, loneliness, abandonment,  and the list goes on and on. But why are many of these things happening to teens in today’s society?


Adolescents can be unaware of their actions or think it’s funny to “joke around” with another peer and may not realize what they are doing is harmful to the teen. The teen being bullied may have also done something to make the bully feel angry or embarrassed and now wants to get back at them. Victims could either feel responsible for a situation or may be too timid to tell an an adult about an ongoing situation. A depressed teen may also often feel isolated if they believe no one understands or wants to understand them. The difficulties many teenagers regularly face, including school work, sports, work, and extracurricular activities seems to reach the tipping point when constant bullying is present in one’s everyday life.


However, there are ways to prevent teen suicide and treat depression. For one, there are many resources teens and adults have access to like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The number to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255. There is also the Youth Crisis Hotline, which can be reached at: 1-800-448-4663, and the Addiction/Mental Health Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP as well. Simply talking with other teens who appear to be down is another preventable method for suicide.  However, the way one goes about communicating with others should be down with caution. If you suspect a friend is in danger or has suicidal thoughts, call the numbers above and/or reach out to a teacher or counselor and tell someone.


For the person struggling, alerting school faculty is important as well. Whether it be a teacher or counselor the teen trusts, reach out to an adult.  Finally, if you are a witness to acts of bullying, do not be a bystander. Chances are that others will step in with you.


Every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide. Let’s work together to not make suicide and self harm not seem like a normality. The world has lost too many loved ones too early from teen suicide. Stand up and say something before it’s too late and a decision is made too quickly.