Our lives are a cyclical process that begins with birth and ends with death. Between childhood and maturity, there are many transitions and developments that one must go through. People face a variety of circumstances during their lives that form their personalities and attitudes toward life. Every stage is critical, and for this article, we will consider that of an adolescent. Individuals in this stage are often referred to as adolescents, and they can be a problematic group due to the transitions they are undergoing. It is these changes that give them a different perspective to life than what they were already accustomed to and thus one of the reasons they are very suicidal. Teen suicide is a problem faced globally but in the United States alone, Bichell (2016) explains that the rate has gone up to 13 per 100000 people as of 2014. The same statistics show that the rates are higher for girls but generally the problem needs to be addressed and quickly.
Research question: What is the ultimate step to take to reduce the increasing suicide rate amongst American teens?
Thesis: Teen suicide is considered to be the second highest cause of death for persons aged 15-24 years mostly due to psychological and environmental issues. A possible solution to help reduce this rate significantly will be to enlist more trained psychologists in both middle and high school levels as they are best suited to help teens deal with the aforementioned factors.
The U.S. teen population is considered to be one of the luckiest given the age that we are currently living in. This is true for any other country due to globalization and technological growth. However, the one problem that this population is experiencing is the increase in suicidal deaths. According to American Academy of Pediatrics (2016), death by suicide is now the second most common for people aged 15-24 years apart from the accidents. Suicide is simply taking ones own life due to several reasons. This is a problem that the U.S. government and the entire society have to carefully look into because if left unaddressed, the teens population will decrease. As the rate increases, the population diminishes and as a result, the future of the country is at stake. This is because, in every country, it is the younger generations who will profit its future. For a world leader such as the U.S. losing its future generation at the rate at which it is through suicide is an underlying problem to an even bigger one.
In addition to the above, the increase in teens suicide rate also brings about another problem; the lack of resources. Resources here mostly mean information or avenues that teens can explore to develop coping skills. There is a shortage not only in information about suicidal tendencies for teenagers to explore but also they lack resources to help minimize the risks associated with this problem. Kids Health (2017) explains that most teens will go through risky situations that affect them mentally thus the suicidal thoughts and because the resources to deal with such situations are not within their reach, saving them becomes a problem.
The problem here being that when teenagers lack or cannot afford these resources; they are not in a position to comprehend that what they are experiencing can be fatal. To them, they will most likely interpret it as normal and understand it as what life as an adult is going to be like. Consequently, since they lack the skills that would have been provided for by the resources, they end up taking their own lives (Kids Health, 2017). Therefore, it can be concluded that the problem that needs to be addressed is the increasing rate of teen suicide as well as the lack of resources to minimize the occurrence of the problem.Causes
According to American Psychological Association (n.d.), there are three main causes of teen suicide; that is psychological, environmental and social factors. For the interest of this paper, we take into consideration the psychological and environmental causes to further address the problem. Psychological has to do with the mental capabilities of a person and as such, the mental health of teens. During the teen years, there are a lot of changes that one has to go through as they progress into adulthood. It is a trying time in life in that teenagers are at times faced with the challenge of coping with the developments they are experiencing (Shaw, 2010).
Of particular interest is how their brains start to evolve and interpret all information they come across. Since there are limited ways of helping teens easily transcend into the teenage years, most will lack the necessary skills and experience to adapt into this new phase of life. The brain of a teenager is said to develop at a rapid speed because of the physical changes the body is undergoing (Shaw, 2010). Therefore, the problem becomes the inability of the teen to develop the necessary skills to cope with life and related changes at the same rate their brain cells are. As such, their mental health is often not stable and with this, they become easily stressed or depressed about life issue thus becoming suicidal (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2016).
In regards to the environmental, todays teenagers are at a great loss because they tend to lack the necessary resources, more so human, to help them develop the necessary skills to cope with life. World Health Organization (1996) explains that there is a gap in how teens today relate with their parents and senior members of the community in comparison to previous generations. Basic adult relationship and guidance is a resource that teens do not have immediate access to because of the current economic times that push the previous to be more industrious. This, therefore, means that teens are left exposed to life situations without the necessary background guidance to help them react positively to different situations.
Furthermore, there is the lack of affordable resources to help teenagers when it comes to developing life skills. Affordability relates to gaining access to a given resource in that the latter is there but it is too pricey for the person in need to afford it. As such, it is true that teenagers will tend to lack the financial if not the mental cost to find and utilize a resource that can help change their views and skills of life. Both the psychological and environmental interrelate to provide for a fit situation for a teen to consider their life not worth living. That is why the skills to cope both mentally and physically are a necessary resource that teens lack thus a rise in the suicidal death associated with this population.
The best solution to the problem as identified above is to have more trained psychologist working at middle and high school levels. This is because this is where most teens are and having a professional psychologist within reach can help them deal with the different problems they are experiencing. According to Stein-Erichsen (2010), school psychologists are often best placed to identify troubled teens early enough to help them avoid suicide. This is important because given that most parents are rarely at home to spend time with their teens, the school has to ensure that they go that extra mile to help teenage students develop the necessary skills.
In addition to the above, there is the need to emphasize that the psychologist has to be well trained. Allen et al., (2002) explains that most school psychologists are not will be informed about the problem and as such will not be in a position to handle it as effectively as possible. This only adds to the problem because the more suicidal teens are handled by a psychologist who is not well trained or well informed about the problem, the more there is a possibility of them taking their lives. Therefore, the government and relevant psychology agencies have to formulate training programs that will equip school psychologist with the needed information and skills to help teen students.
In conclusion, having trained psychologist work in middle and high school levels best guarantee positive results because the teens will not have immediate access to a resource that they truly need. In most school, there will be one or two psychologists working with students and this can be overwhelming for both the students and the psychologists (Allen et al., 2002). By increasing this number, the ratio between students to a psychologist can be well-balanced meaning both get quality outcomes from the interactions.
There were times when the issue of teen suicide was unheard of in America and as Bichell (2016) explains, during the 1980s, the rate was low and further decreasing. Fast forward to now, it is the opposite that is being experienced. Since the start of the 2000s, statistics charts show an increase even though prevailing environmental factors are deemed to be the most favorable for this teen generation. Teen suicide is a problem that is crippling the United States by robbing it of its most promising future. It is a problem that is experienced globally but it is more alarming in the U.S. given the statistics.
The problem is caused by the lack of adequate or proper coping skills as teenagers develop and experience a lack of resources. However, all is not lost as there is the possibility of changing the direction the problem is currently taking. In as much as there are various solutions to the problem, this paper advocate for more school psychologists to be enlisted in middle and high school levels of education. This way, teens have access to an important resource thus less suicidal. As a country, the U.S. should respond more differently to teen suicide than its current reaction; which is not to say that nothing is being done. However, given the circumstances and statistics, there is a need for more vigorous solutions that aim at preventing rather than curing teen suicide.References
American Academy of Pediatrics (2016). Teen Suicide Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/emotional-problems/Pages/Teen-Suicide-Statistics.aspx
American Psychological Association (n.d.). Teen Suicide is Preventable. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/research/action/suicide.aspx
Allen, M., Jerome, A., White, A., Marston, S., Lamb, S., Pope, D., & Rawlins, C. (2002). The preparation of school psychologists for crisis intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 39(4), 427-439.
Bichell, R. (2016). Suicide Rates Climb In U.S., Especially Among Adolescent Girls. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/04/22/474888854/suicide-rates-climb-in-u-s-especially-among-adolescent-girls
Kids Health (2017). About Teen Suicide. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/suicide.html
Shaw, J. (2010). Causes of Teenage Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/130491-causes-teenage-suicide/
Stein-Erichsen, J. L. (2010). "School Psychologists' Confidence Level with Suicide Intervention and Prevention in the Schools"PCOM Psychology Dissertations. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.pcom.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1131&context=psychology_dissertations
World Health Organization (1996). The Health of young people: A challenge and a promise. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/37353/1/9241561548_eng.pdf
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