If you or someone you know has been talking about taking their own life, feeling hopeless or as a burden on others, please reach out for help.
Click here or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
There’s a dangerous trend among young people today. This isn’t a weird, possibly fake trend, like eating Tide Pods, or whatever method of getting high the local news is scaring you into thinking teens are doing.
This is a statistically significant trend.
Vox writer Brian Resnick put together a report on the increase in the number of teens who’ve attempted suicide.
The use of poison in these attempts has more than doubled in the last decade.
Young women have been hit the hardest, with the number of women under 24 attempting to take their own life nearly tripling compared to ten years ago.
This data came from a study that was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
The authors suggest that increased use of social media and technology — and related changes in how kids socialize — could partially explain the uptick.
Parents who rely on TV & social media in parenting their children must reconsider their responsibilities.
— Nataly Minkina (@MinkinaNataly) May 1, 2019
"Overall, it’s estimated that in 2018, close to 60,000 girls ages 10 to 18 tried to poison themselves. In 2008, that figure was closer to 30,000…And unfortunately, the researchers… https://t.co/nVWj4M1ebM
— David G. Colister (@Colister) May 1, 2019
This is an absolutely heartbreaking trend https://t.co/5s6eRFo1pa
— Julia Belluz (@juliaoftoronto) May 1, 2019
Why suddenly do so many young people want to die ??what's going on with these kids ?where are the parents ?can they not see their child is not acting right ??
— Natalie (@Natalie83049) May 2, 2019
Researchers have reviewed the study, and have reason to believe it’s possible the numbers are actually underestimating the increase. The paper analyzed reports from the National Poison Data System.
As is pointed out, there are bound to be incidents that don’t make it into the system, or are miscategorized as accidental poisonings.
Regardless, there has been a definite increase in suicides by self-poisoning in people under 19 years of age, after 2011. The only bright side is that self-poisoning is only fatal less than 5 percent of the time, though that is of little comfort when it’s your teen.
There are often warning signs for someone who is at risk. While there’s the obvious, from depression and talking about killing themselves, others are more subtle. Loss of interest in their hobbies, isolating friends and family, and talking about feeling trapped can also be signs.
While some are quick to point to what they believe are definitive reasons for this, it’s difficult to say for certain. Shows like 13 Reasons Why or cyberbullying are the boogie men blamed for this kind of cause, but there are so many possibilities, it’s hard to say.
However, it’s possible to help without knowing what has caused this increase.
I've worked with teens as they've gone through some of the most challenging experiences of their lives- depression, homelessness, suicide attempts, abuse, and bullying. I've stopped altercations. I've had teens come out to me. I've listened to secrets and struggles.
— estefanía (@sunflowrfields) May 1, 2019
When we talk about teen suicide we need to include completed suicide, suicide attempts (which outnumber completions over 50:1 for teens), and ideation. There’s nothing casual or evidence-lacking here, just listen to the stories of queer members
— Evan J Worthen (@harambevan) May 1, 2019
Maybe we should work on ensuring our teens have hope for a better future – one where we aren't killing off our oceans, making people go to GoFundMe for cancer treatment, and bowing down to ignorance, prejudice and nationalism.
— UnChatUnChat (@CriUnChatUnChat) May 1, 2019
EVERY parent should be talking to their teen about suicide, and EVERY school should be conducting routine screenings!
— Mitch Prinstein (@mitchprinstein) May 1, 2019
As Resnick puts it,
“Therapists and science-backed therapies can help. Schools and teachers can help. Parents can help. Friends can help. Anguish is not inevitable.”
There are screening programs we can implement in schools that have been shown to be effective at identifying those at risk. Parents and school officials are in the best position to handle this problem, but often don’t out of fear of not knowing what to say or do.
John Ackerman, co-author of the study, said,
“There’s this myth that if you talk about suicide you will put it in their minds. And we know now that’s completely not true.”
“You actually reduce the risk when you have a plan for helping kids through these difficult feelings.”