Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) find suicide to be the second-leading cause of death for persons aged 10–24. The suicide rate among this age group increased by 56 percent between 2001 and 2017, with the greatest increase between 2013 and 2017.
While suicide rates have been steadily increasing across all ages in the U.S., the greatest increase is among teens and young adults. Some blame the rise in teen suicide on bullying, social media, and social or academic pressures, while others point to an increase in mental health issues.
But researchers are hard-pressed to give definitive reasons for the increase in teen suicide deaths. “It’s a complex problem with no easy answers so far,” Ursula Whiteside, PhD., suicide prevention researcher and clinician, said at a recent American Psychological Association conference.
Warning Signs of Suicidal Thoughts
While many teens exhibit anxiety, moodiness, and other negative emotions, as well as the desire to experiment with alcohol or drugs, these may also be warning signs of suicidal thoughts.
According to the Mayo Clinic, other warning signs include:
- Isolation and withdrawal from friends and family
- Spending more time in their bedroom
- Extreme mood swings
- Erratic sleep patterns
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Frequently talking or writing about death and suicide
- Expressing hopelessness or a sense of being trapped
- Giving away belongings or saying goodbye to people
If you are considering suicide, or fear a loved is, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential support.
October is National Bullying Awareness Month
Bullying occurs when someone actively works to humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise bring another person down by physical, verbal, emotional, or cyber means. Cyberbullying includes the use of instant messaging, cell phone text messages, and online social networks.
Bullying can have devastating effects on teenagers and can lead to depression, drug use, impaired social development, and even suicide.
In 2006, PACER founded the National Bullying Prevention Center, with the mission to lead the social change necessary to prevent childhood bullying and to ensure children feel safe in school, in their community, and online. Their initial campaign, National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week, is now National Bullying Awareness Month, which is observed during the month of October.
PACER is actively partnering with the National PTA, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association to ensure schools have the educational resources they need to stop bullying behavior.
Throughout October, individuals, schools, community groups, and others are invited to join in the campaign to promote the message that bullying is destructive and unacceptable and will only be stopped through awareness, education, and policy change.
Visit the PACER website to see how you can inspire your school and community to stop bullying and to access creative resources including classroom activities, toolkits, and lesson plans for educators. The site also provides informative guides for parents to understand the dynamics of bullying, help their children through bullying situations, and learn how to communicate with school staff.
It takes schools, parents, and communities working together to create safe environments for our children.
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