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This Method Of Attempting Suicide Among Young Americans Has Risen Substantially In The Last Decade, Study Reveals

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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.

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.

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.”


Ben Acosta

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.