Youth suicide

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"Teen suicide" redirects here. For the indie rock band, see Teen Suicide (band).

Youth suicide is when a young person, generally categorized as someone below age 21, deliberately ends their own life. Rates of attempted and completed youth suicide in Western societies and other countries are high. Suicide rates in youths have nearly tripled between the 1960s and 1980s.[1] For example, in Australia suicide is second only to motor vehicle accidents as it leading cause of death for people aged 15–25,[2] and according to the National Institute for Mental Health, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens in the United States.[3] Between 1980 and 1994, the suicide rates of young black males doubled. American Indians and Alaska Natives commit suicide at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in the United States.[4] In India, one-third of suicides are young people 15–29. In 2002, 154,000 suicides were recorded in India.[5]

Suicide contagion[edit]

According to research carried in by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian in 2007, 39% of all youth suicides are completed by young people who have lost someone of influence or significance to them to suicide. The Commission terms this suicide contagion and makes several recommendations as to the importance of safeguarding young people and communities from suicide contagion.

In 2011 the Australian Federal Parliament Standing Committee for Health and Ageing Inquiry into Youth Suicide met in a round table forum with young representatives from three organisations at the forefront of preventing youth suicide, including Sunnykids,[6] Inspire, and Boys Town. The Standing Committee has since released a discussion paper highlighting the findings of their inquiry[7] and will seek to make final recommendations on the most effective means for reducing youth suicide at the conclusion of their inquiry.

Teens at risk[edit]

One of the problems is getting psychiatric counseling when it's needed.[8] "In teenagers, depression is considered a major - if not the leading - cause of teen suicide.".[9] Factors and risks contributed to youth suicide are academic pressure, alcohol consumption, the loss of a valued relationship, frequent change of residency, and poor family patterns.[10] Gay teens or those unsure of their sexual identity are more likely to commit suicide, particularly if they have suffered bullying or harassment. In Canada, almost 300 young people take their lives each year. Some Aboriginal teens and gay or lesbian teens are at high risk, depending on their community and their own self-esteem.[11] Several campaigns have been started to give them hope and help them to feel less isolated.

  • It Gets Better [12]
  • Born This Way[13] Lack of impulse control has been found to differentiate adolescent suicide attempters from a control group of adolescents with an acute illness (Slap, Vorters, Chaudhuri, & Centor, 1988). However, impulsivity does not seem to characterize all suicide attempters, since group comparisons have found no differences between suicidalpatients and psychiatric controls on a measure of cognitive impulsivity (Patsiokas, Clum, & Luscomb, 1979). Instead, impulsivity may be important in identifying high risk subgroups * I Get Bullied Too [14]

Bereavement among young people[edit]

The primary goals of suicide postvention include assisting the survivors of suicide with the grief process, and identifying and referring those survivors who may be at risk for negative outcomes such as depressive and anxiety disorders, and suicidal behaviour. With 42% of completed youth suicides being suicide bereavement (or contagion) related - further research and investment must be made into supporting this group of people, as they may represent the single largest potential reduction in youth suicide rates, if they receive effective support, feel connected, supported and understood. Harassment is a leading cause of teen suicide, along with abuse.


One organization in Australia has found that young people who feel connected, supported and understood are less likely to commit suicide. Reports on the attitudes of young people identified as at risk of suicide have been released.[15] Such reports support the notion that connectedness, a sense of being supported and respected are protective factors for young people at risk of suicide. According to Pueblo Suicide Prevention Center (PSPC) for some reason kids today are experiencing more pressure.

Issues for communities[edit]

Intervention issues for communities to address include: suicide contagion, developmental understanding of suicide, development and suicide risk, and the influence of culture. Key matters in postvention responses for young people include: community context, life stage relevance of responses, identification and referral (Postvention Co-ordination), developing a suite of services, and creating ongoing options.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kastenbaum, Robert J. (2012). Death, Society, and Human Experience. Boston: Pearson. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-205-00108-8. 
  2. ^ Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian
  3. ^ National Institute [for] Mental Health
  4. ^ Woodward, John (2005). Teen Suicide. Greenhaven: Szumski. p. 10. ISBN 0-7377-2428-5. 
  5. ^ Iype, George. South India: World's suicide capital. Rediff, 2004-04-15. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  6. ^ SunnyKids 2010
  7. ^ Federal Parliament Health and Ageing Standing Committee Inquiry into Youth Suicide Archived January 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ [1]The Globe and Mail, 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  9. ^ [2]"Teen Suicide Causes and Issues," Retrieved 2012-04-26.
  10. ^ Kastenbaum, Robert J. (2012). Death, Society, and Human Experience. Boston: Pearson. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-0-205-00108-8. 
  11. ^ (Reference to come)
  12. ^ Rick Mercer joins the It Gets Better campaign. CBC News, 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  13. ^ Born This Way Paul V. creates a safe online haven for LGBT teens as a suicide prevention measure. Huffington Post, 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  14. ^ [3] Kiwi Commons created the “I Get Bullied Too!” campaign to help amplify the voices of bullying and digital abuse victims, 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  15. ^ Head High Fact Sheet 1 Archived August 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]