Victims of their own minds: Suicide among high school teens on the rise

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Photo Credit: Taylor Markee

Alejandra Lozano, Sophomore Staff Writer

With a rapidly growing media-ruled generation, over the past ten years the studies shown have proven that suicide among the youth continues to rise.

Websites such as Tumblr have been glorifying self-harm and depression. Zoe Duncan from Best of SNO comments how, “Over the past couple years, self-hate blogs have flourished. According to the research team at SimilarWeb, which studied 1.6 million Tumblr blogs, about 200,000 blogs contained self-harm tags.”

Tumblr is romanticizing self harm and mental illnesses; both are very serious and should not be misused. After searching #blackandwhite on Tumblr, many graphic images appeared of teenagers who self harm and poems that glorify death. They post quotes such as “I don’t know if I’m getting better or used to the pain” and “I want to die a lovely death.”

As stated by Duncan, “Teens who confuse depression with everyday challenges are drawn to Tumblr’s online hub of self-harm because of the horribly poetic combination of pain and beauty that is advertised. They yearn to be part of a community. Being part of something dark, beautiful and misunderstood makes it all the more appealing. But to be accepted, teens have to advertise their suffering, they have to prove they belong.”

After the Youth Risk Behavior Study  was performed by the CDC, it concluded that in 2013, one in six high school students had attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts.

How often does it happen?

According to studies performed by the CDC in January 2014,  There is one suicide for every 100-200 attempts. Their statistics show that “16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among youths between the ages of 5-14″. In the next 100 minutes, or by the time you are done reading this article, 100 teens would have attempted suicide and one will succeed.

Furthermore, this study also proved that every year, ” approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.” Even if a teenager fails a suicide attempt, it is most likely that they will continue to self harm.

What are the warning signs?

It is vital that parents and close friends immediately contact a crisis center as soon as unusual behavior is noticed. According to the CDC  the following are the alerts to watch out for:

  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
    (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
  • Talking or writing about death or suicide.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Self-injury
  • Feeling trapped — like there is no way out of a situation.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  • A change in sleeping/ eating habits
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Performing poorly at work or in school.
  • Writing a will.
  • Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
  • Acting recklessly.

How can it be prevented?

–       Know the warning signs

–       Seek professional help

–       Be there for the person

–       Show empathy and support

–       Therapy for the individual

–       Recognize that you/ your friend has a problem, and reach out

–       Do not ignore someone who even simply jokes or talks about death frequently

–       Show concern, let them know they are not alone

–       Identifying and treating the cause of the suicidal actions

–       GET HELP.

Where can I get help?

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It’s okay to admit you’re not okay. If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, contact any of the following hotlines immediately. The following are all open 24 hours a day.

Nationwide suicide hotline: 1-800-784-2433

Tampa Christian helpline network: 813-251-400

Crisis Hotline of Tampa Bay: (813) 234-1234

Teen link Tampa Bay: 813-236-8336

Trevor Project Hotline: 866-488-7386

There are also websites that share inspiration and support suicidal teens.

1) The thoughts room

If you wish to speak about what is bothering you, but not to someone, this thoughts room is where you should go. As you type in a status bar, the words turn into stars in the sky, fading just like your worries.

2) The Dawn Room

The dawn room is the best place to go if you need some words that will bring you hope. It is the same experience as calling a helpline, but without the person speaking at the other end of the line.

3) The Quiet Place

The quiet place is the best website to take a break and just relax for 30 seconds. It plays relaxing music and makes you stop everything for half a minute.