Suicide among adolescents
Suicide can be regarded as the intentional act of an individual to kill themselves. Of the general population, the youth are a group that is very vulnerable to suicidal acts. In Canada, statistics show suicide as a cause of death among 24% of adolescents and young people aged 15-24 as opposed to 16% deaths among the people in the age category of 16-44 years. Overall, suicide is said to be the second leading death cause among the Canadian adolescents aged 10-19 years (Pan, Desmeules, Morrison, Semenciw, R, Ugnat, A, Thompson, W & Mao, 2007).
Evidence has also shown some gender differences it the engagement of suicidal acts. Among males, for example, research indicates that the late forties and the age past ninety are a time when men have a higher likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts as opposed to the early forties among females. In Canada, around the year 2009, there was approximately 145 male related suicide cases (a corresponding rate of 1.6 of every 100,000 suicide deaths) and about 57 female suicide-related deaths (which was a corresponding rate of 5.2 per every 100,000 suicide deaths). In the same year, the numbers were seen to sharply rise especially among the males more so when they got to above twenty years. Among the adolescents, a Canadian community health survey conducted in 2002 reported a higher number of suicidal thoughts among the girls (9%) as opposed to the boys (5%).
Adolescent suicide is considered as being a community health problem. This is so because it exposes young people to early death risks. In 2009 for example, it was estimated that close to 100,000 years of life which was very potential ended up lost as a result of suicide. As further shown by researchers, adolescents are the potential leaders of a nations’ future and their wellbeing in some few years will be key in pushing the nation forward, more so economically. This is therefore an indication that if most adolescents end up dying before adulthood, there is a high likelihood that a nation would lack its economic and social drivers. Adolescent suicide is also largely considered as being a community health problem since during the adolescent years, an individual is not able to make independent decisions and therefore they are more likely to depend so much on their peers. As such, failing to address this problem would be creating a loop for promoting peer pressure and therefore the risk of losing a nations’ very potential generation.
The existence of the suicidal problem among adolescents in Canada can be related to various factors. One is the exposure of the youths to social media and social networking sites. As research indicates, a majority of the Canadian adolescents are frequent users of social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter, Myspace, YouTube, Messenger among other social sites where they socialize and communicate (Suzanne, 2011). Out of this, many adolescents have fallen prey to cyberbullying. Research indicates that cyber bullying results in feelings of depression, loneliness as well as hopelessness and that majority of the youths who have been bullied have a high likelihood to commit suicide.
Drugs and substance abuse is also another factor that has been attributed to the suicide problem among adolescents. A lot of increasing evidence has shown that majority of the adolescents who abuse alcohol and other drugs are at a higher risk of attempting suicide and that majority of the suicide thoughts among the adolescents occur when they are high on some form of drugs (Wilcox, 2004). Family status has also been greatly related to high suicide rates among adolescents. Evidence shows that adolescents who live in poor households have a higher likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts. Further research also indicates that those adolescents who head their households and those who come from single parented houses have an increased rate of committing suicide (Esme Fuller-Thomson, Gail & Stephen, 2013).
Suicide among adolescents is a problem that has been associated with causing a huge economic burden. Both direct and indirect costs in Canada have been incurred. For suicide-related cases, the direct costs incurred are the costs for any police investigations, hospital costs, ambulance costs, autopsy as well as the funeral costs. In the event that a person does not die of an intended suicide, the indirect costs, on the other hand, are those productivity costs that a society may experience over time. They include the informal care costs, unemployment costs, and the social welfare costs.
Adolescent suicide is a problem that is largely preventable. Considering that adolescence is a period of both physical and psychological development, providing counseling to the adolescents who prevent suicidal thoughts is a strategy that could be employed in solving this problem among adolescents. Encouraging parents to develop a close relationship with their adolescent children is also an avenue that could be explored to identify any suicidal feelings among the children and action taken before the suicide acts are actually committed. In addition, the government, through the health and other relevant sectors could play a large part in investing financial as well as human resources in preventing suicide occurrence (Kutcher, & Szumilas, 2008).
Esme Fuller-Thomson, Gail P. Hamelin, and Stephen J. R. Granger., (2013). “Suicidal Ideation in a Population-Based Sample of Adolescents: Implications for Family Medicine Practice,” ISRN Family Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 282378, 11 pages, 2013. doi:10.5402/2013/282378
Kutcher, S. and Szumilas, M., (2008). Youth suicide prevention. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 178(3), 2
Pan, S.Y, Desmeules, M, Morrison, H, Semenciw, R, Ugnat, A, Thompson, W, Mao, Y (2007). Adolescent injury deaths and hospitalization in Canada: magnitude and temporal trends (1979-2003). Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(1):84-92.
Statistics Canada. Canadian Community Health Survey, (2002): Cycle 1.2 [Share Microdata File]. Ottawa, Ontario: Statistics Canada.
Suzanne, M., (2011). Cyber-bullying. Special Features. Retrieved from https://suicideinfo.ca/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=U9Oo1H z3LCs%3d&tabid=516
Wilcox, H., (2004). Epidemiological evidence on the link between drug use and suicidal behaviors among adolescents. Can Child Adolesc Psychiatr Rev, 13(2): 27–30.
Hi there! Click one of our representatives below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.