Causes and Prevention of Teenage Suicide

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Teenager Suicide – A Silent Crisis


Suicide – A lifelong solution to momentary problems. Most teenagers who shared this thought had taken their lives, in longing for eternal relief of all their problems. According to WISQARS (2016), 10,895 adolescents between the age of 15 to 24 committed suicide in USA alone. Owing to social media and cyberbullying, teenage suicide is becoming a prevalent problem, which will turn rampant if not helped through several viable solutions.


Depression, instigated by cyberbullying through social media, is the main cause of teenage suicide. Through social media, a teen’s everyday activities are subjected to people’s judgmental and harsh comments, known as cyberbullying. Due to a teenager's fragile mental health condition, they are vulnerable to developing depression. A research in 2011 found that approximately 2.2 million students between ages 12 to 18 were victims of cyberbullying (National Centre for Educational Statistics [NCES], as cited in Megan Meier Foundation, n.d.). Cyberbullying victims, who are constantly harassed and humiliated, tend to have lower self-esteem and feel dejected, which then evolve to suicidal thoughts. Among adolescents, cyberbullying victims were 1.9 times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers (Hinduja & Patchin, 2009).


‌Owning to the 7 hours that adolescent spend in school a day on average, school personnel play a huge role in preventing teenage suicide (“The Malaysian Education System”, 2018). Firstly, academic staff should be trained to detect warning signs such as fatigue, isolation and etcetera. A teenager demonstrating these symptoms should be encouraged to confide in a trustworthy person such as a counsellor or a favourite teacher (Eggert, Karovosky ,& Pike, as cited in Berman, Jobes, & Silverman,2006). Sharing one's problem with others can reduce the risk of depression. Then, the school can inform the teenager's parents and collaborate with them to help the teen. A more severe case of depression should be handled by trained nurses from the school’s mental health services. Schools with professional mental health services have reported fewer cases of depression and decreased suicide rates  (Solimanpour, Geierstanger, McCarter, & Brindis, 2011) . Next, the school's Suicide Prevention Committee should collaborate with National Teen Support Groups to raise awareness among students by hosting talks and discussions about suicide. With this knowledge, teenagers are warier of their behaviour and know when to seek help from professionals.

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‌Having forged the closest relationship with a teenager, parents and friends play crucial roles in preventing youthful suicide. Firstly, parents should get involved in more activities with their teens, such as family vacations, as to let them open up and express their emotions more comfortably (Vijaindren, 2018; King, Foster, & Rogalski, 2013 ). As a result, teens can release pent-up negative thoughts, which is the main cause of depression. Teenagers can also get expert opinions on how to handle certain situations from their parents, who have gone through many years of experience. Besides family members, friends also provide additional ...

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