Why Do Teens Want To Kill Themselves?
He is currently in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
What horrible thoughts could have pushed this young man to commit such an act in front of his peers?
Right after the incident at the all-male private Catholic school, several students called 911, although the teen apparently did not threaten any other students.
One call came from a group of about 20 distressed students and a teacher who had locked themselves in a nearby classroom.
Were huddled in a corner, a young man named Ben whispered to a Hamilton County dispatcher in one call, before handing the phone to another student who said he had been in the lab when the shooter pulled out a gun.
I believe my teacher tried to subdue him, Andrew told the dispatcher. I ran out of the room.
The family of the unidentified student at La Salle High School released a statement thanking people for their thoughts and prayers while asking for privacy, and for people to refrain from making comments on Facebook and Twitter.
It was only a month ago that we read about a similar incident in Detroit, where an eight-grader fatally shot himself at his middle school just before the school day began. The youngster was found in a bathroom by another student. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
How Many Teens Attempt Suicide?
About one in 25 U.S. teens has attempted suicide, according to a new national study, and one in eight has thought about it.
Researchers said those numbers are similar to the prevalence of lifetime suicidal thinking and attempts reported by adults – suggesting the teenage years are an especially vulnerable time.
“What adults say is, the highest risk time for first starting to think about suicide is in adolescence,” said Matthew Nock, a psychologist who worked on the study at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Nock and his colleagues found that almost all teens who thought about or attempted suicide had a mental disorder, including depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
The numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are slightly higher: suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
Why Do Teens Kill Themselves?
Here’s how KidsHealth explains the depression young people experience:
Depression affects a person’s thoughts in such a way that the person doesn’t see when a problem can be overcome. It’s as if the depression puts a filter on the person’s thinking that distorts things. That’s why depressed people don’t realize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem in the same way that other people do. A teen with depression may feel like there’s no other way out of problems, no other escape from emotional pain, or no other way to communicate a desperate unhappiness.
The problems that lead to depression are often linked to bullying and cyberbullying, but there are other issues. A former student at Palo Alto High School, in California, responded to the four suicides at her school, by describing the kind of pressure that might have driven those teens to take their own lives:
Students in Palo Alto are stressed out. They’ve been stressed for years. The school sits in the shadow of Stanford University, and students face crushing pressure from parents and the community at large to earn a spot at one of the nation’s top colleges.
Overstressed kids, under pressure to be perfect, are also susceptible to suicidal thoughts. Clinical Psychologist Madeline Levine points out that preteen and teen suicides have quadrupled since the 1950′s, and describes how affluent, high-achieving teens often become so depressed that they attempt suicide.
Nearly 60% Of All Suicides Committed With A Gun
The young man in Ohio who tried to kill himself Monday used a gun; the eighth grader in Michigan who did kill himself last month also used a gun.
Depression leads to suicidal thoughts, but the presence of a gun makes it easier to act on those thoughts.
The risk of suicide increases dramatically when kids and teens have access to firearms at home, and over half of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun.
These tragic stories remind us once again that we need better gun safety laws.
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