Suicide: A National Problem

Suicide is the third leading cause of death of those between the ages of 15 and 24 in the United States.  In Ohio, the “Ohio Department of Mental Health reports that over 20 percent of high school students have seriously considered suicide, 14 percent have made a plan, and 8 percent have made a suicide attempt” (Suicide Prevention Education Alliance, 2012).  Adolescent and adult suicide can have many different risk factors attached to it.  These risk factors can include trouble in academics, peer pressure, self-esteem, depression, a mental illness and even relationship issues.  It is reported that “youth experiencing difficulties in terms of grades, attendance, and behavior-related problems were at risk for suicide” (Sharaf, A.Y., et al., 2009).

Suicide is a tragic experience and is an event that can be prevented.  It is important for family members, young people, those who work in academia, etc., to understand the warning signs that are associated with suicide.  The only way that the community will begin to have knowledge of the warning signs is to receive proper education.  How many more lives could be saved if better education was provided?   “Fundamental to addressing youth suicide is the availability of high-quality, evidence-based information accessible to the public, health providers, and policy-makers” (Szumilas & Kutcher, 2009).  As a growing professional in the realm of public health, it is my goal to help others remove the negative stigma about suicide that has been implanted in their minds and give them the opportunity to learn more and assist in reducing the numbers of adolescents that suffer from suicidal behaviors.

For more information about what others are doing in regard to suicide prevention, please check out the Suicdie Prevention Education Alliance of the Greater Cleveland area.  Their web site is:  http://helppreventsuicide.org.

Author: Professor Leslie Shaffer

Resources:

Suicide Prevention Education Alliance (2012).  Teen Suicide Facts. Retrieved from:  http://www.speaneohio.org/about-teen-suicide-and-depression/youth-suicide-facts

Sharaf, A.Y., Thompson, E.A. and Walsh, E., (2009).  Protective Effects of Self-Esteem and Family Support on Suicide Risk Behaviors among At-Risk Adolescents.  Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 22(3).  Pp. 160-168.

Szumilas, M. and Kutcher, S. (2009).  Teen Suicide Information on the Internet:  A Systematic Analysis of Quality.  La Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, Vol. 54(9).  Pp. 596-604.

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