The Generation Game - Teen Suicide referat

3. The Generation Game

Teen Suicide

Every teen-ager no matter the color of his skin, his beliefs or his origins is sometimes confused about his life. Some of the youngsters don’t have someone to talk to or don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents and relatives about their problems and doubts. One of the solutions that teen-agers find is escaping from reality through the consume of alcohol and narcotics or they run away from home.

The worst end of a youngster’s adolescence is death.

More and more, teen-agers seem to be turning to suicide as a desperate solution to seemingly insolvable problems and feelings. Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death for 5- to 14-year-olds and the third leading cause for 15- to 24-year-olds. Alarmingly, the numbers are growing.

Whether a teen-ager actually wants to die or not, his suicidal behavior speaks of deep feelings of impotence and helplessness. Given the changes and challenges that adolescence poses, including physical, hormonal changes, social and academic demands and a shifting role in the family, youngsters may well feel overwhelmed and alone. In addition, today’s society offers a series of environmental stresses- divorce, single-parent homes blended even families, poverty, overtaxed school systems, negative peer pressure, as well as increased exposure to violence and illicit drugs- that even the most resourceful youngster can have difficulty managing.

Suicidal attempts are not uncommon with children and adolescents who have drug problems or conduct disorders or whose behavior seems aggressive rather than despondent. Although it may be tempting to dismiss such attempts as manipulative, they must be taken seriously, not only in terms of their immediate danger but also as possible expressions of extreme frustration, pain, anger and impulsiveness. Youngsters with conduct disorders are notoriously inarticulate and may illustrate their pain with self-destructive acts.

At the same time, teen-age behavior may seem perplexing to parents. They may wonder if what they observe is indeed a cause for concern. From time to time, they will likely notice a number of problematic behaviors in their teen-ager that could be warning signs for suicide. These include:

-Withdrawal or isolation, especially if your child has always been gregarious and outgoing;

-Signs of self-mutilation;

-Violent behavior such as punching holes in walls, getting into fights or self-destructive violence;

-A consistent pattern of running away from home;

-A significant change in sleeping patterns: suddenly sleeps all the time or does not sleep at all.

-Neglect of personal appearance (most adolescents always want to look their best, even if their idea of looking good is completely at odds with yours;

-Lingering lethargy, a drop-off in schoolwork, loss of interest in school;

-Loss of interest in recreational activities;

-Lack of interest in praise or rewards;

-Weepiness; abrupt or constant crying;

-Expressions of low self-esteem; feeling of worthlessness; “ I’m simply no good “;

-References to the fact that he will not be around much longer to be a burden to everyone;

-Indications that he is completely overwhelmed: “ What difference does anything make “ or “ Life makes no sense ‘;

-Actions that reflect sudden interest in giving important or favorite possessions away, putting his affairs in order, making amends and saying good-bye;

-Sudden and unaccountable cheerfulness, sense of relief or resoluteness after an extended period of depression;

-An abrupt change of personality, dress, style, friends, etc.;

-Alcohol or other drug use.

If the parents suspect their teen-ager is depressed, they should ask him. The parents must be tentative and respectful. The child may feel comforted by their concern. He may want more than anything to talk about what he is feeling. Just listening may counteract some of his feelings of worthlessness.

Other adolescents may be so depressed that they may not talk about it directly. They may not be able to identify or put into words just what is making them feel so despondent.

If the parents have any doubts, they should consult their physician or the child’s doctor. Therapy may be prudent, not only for the teen-ager but also for the rest of the family. The provider will look for the above warning signs as well as a step-wise criterion that includes suicidal ideation (thought), suicidal intent, mental health condition, previous attempt and family history.

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