AlibiWritten by H. Vanoy Barton
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Teen SuicideWritten by Jason Liptow
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It is important to understand factors and reasons that adolescents attempt and commit suicide in order to help stop problem. It is also important to dispel myths surrounding suicide amongst teens in order to gain a further understanding of how to stop problem. One such myth is that people who talk about suicide never actually go through with it. This is probably most dangerous misconception, according to Laura Dolce in Suicide (47). A person who talks about suicide is thinking about it. He or she brings it up to test other people’s reactions and is usually a cry for help. Dolce also dispels other misconceptions in her book. It is believed that people who commit suicide leave notes. Dolce states that majority of suicides do not leave notes and is one of reasons that many suicides are ruled as accidents rather than suicides (47). Another myth is that people who survive a suicide attempt never try it again. Dolce points out that 80% of those who commit suicide have attempted it before. The reason for this, she reasons, is that problem causing need to commit suicide has not been resolved (47). One of biggest assumptions made about suicides is that people from good families never commit suicide. Dolce dismisses this claim, also, as suicide claims people from all walks of life, whether rich or poor. In fact adolescents who come from so-called “perfect families” may feel even more pressure to excel (49). It is often believed that people who attempt suicide are crazy. Dolce again dismisses this as a horrible myth as many teens that commit suicide are not mentally ill but see no other solution to a problem that they are experiencing and see suicide as only answer to their problems (49). Another myth among society about suicide is that those who have attempted or thought about suicide remain suicidal for rest of their lives. Dolce stresses that while many teens who have attempted suicide are indeed at a higher risk for attempting it again, many go on to lead normal lives. In fact, 70% of general population has considered suicide at some time in their life but never go beyond that or act upon it (49). The last and possibly most important myth about suicide pertains to victim. Many adolescents are drawn to suicide because they believe that taking their own life is a way of exacting revenge. They perceive themselves as having “gotten back” at a parent, friend, or peer. What they fail to understand, according to Dolce, is that suicide is permanent. It is a loss for themselves and for people who are left behind. Suicide does not get even with anyone (50). Once adolescents who are at risk for attempting suicide are identified it is important to help them through whatever they are going through to help prevent it. The American Psychiatric Association stresses that last things these teens need are a lecture or to hear all reasons they have to live. What they need is to be reassured that they have someone they can turn to in order to discuss their feelings or problems, whether it is family, friends, school counselor, teacher, physician, or religious leader. (Teen Suicide APA). It must be a person who is very willing to listen and who is able to reassure individual that their problems or depression can be treated. If, in fact, individual teen is suffering from depression, it is important to get them professional help from a psychiatrist or counselor (Teen Suicide APA). While teen suicide is a severe problem in United States today, it is one that can be deterred, if not completely eliminated. Looking for proper signs and knowing about factors involved for at-risk teens is an important step in solving problem. All parents, teachers, counselors, and doctors should be aware of these signs. Even friends can play an important role in stopping suicide. Recognizing signs and factors is just first step in solving problem. Finding proper treatment is next step. But if at-risk students can be identified early then that is half battle. It’s a battle worth fighting since suicide is taking away so many promising young people from society and they are missing out on wonderful gift of life. Works Cited
Dolce, Laura. Suicide. New York: Chelsea House, 1992.
Hafen, Brent Q., and Kathryn J. Frandsen. Youth Suicide: Depression and Loneliness. Colorado: Cordillera Press, 1986.
Marcus, Eric. Why Suicide? San Francisco: Harper, 1996.
Palazzolo, Rose. “Preventing Teen Suicide.” Psychology Today Online. May/June 2003. 20 May 2005. .
Shamoo, Tonia K., and Philip G. Patros. I Want to Kill Myself. Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1990.
“Suicide Prevention.” Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Online. 27 May 2005. .
“Teens Attempting Suicide.” Online. 20 May 2005. .
“Teen Suicide.” American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Online. 27 May 2005. .
“Teen Suicide.” American Psychiatric Association. Online. 20 May 2005. .
“Understanding and Preventing Teen Suicide.” Kidshealth. Online. 20 May 2005. .
Written by Jason Liptow, B.A. in Social Studies from Madonna University, teacher certification from Saginaw Valley State University in Social Studies and History is the webmaster of Social Studies Made Simple. The goal of the website is to provide information and links about history, economics, and current events to students and teachers. For entire article see www.socialstudiesmadesimple.com.