According to the CDC-2016, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among individuals ages 10 to 24 years of age. Although there is limited research on specific demographic factors associated with youth suicides, there are risk factors that we can identify and plan accordingly.
Potential risk factors that increase thoughts of suicide among children:
– Childhood maltreatment: there is strong evidence that supports how various forms of childhood maltreatment such as sexual, physical, and emotional abuse can predict future suicidal ideation or suicide attempt among youth.
This level of trauma has short and long-term effects that greatly impacts the mental health of youth. Severe symptoms such a guilt, shame, depression, and hopelessness can overwhelm youth and increase their thoughts of the desire to not live.
– Bullying: peer victimization, whether face to face or social media, perpetuates
suicidal thoughts and behaviors among youth. Bullying encompasses intentional harm both mental and physical acts. Such social exclusion and humiliation experiences during childhood and early adolescence projects later suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide deaths.
– Peer and media influence: This consideration is warranted due to the exposure of how suicides are completed. Kids can find videos on social media that give immediate results that either provide instructions or support for suicide attempts.
Such platforms can cause a spike in cluster suicides, which suggest through the social learning theory that having friends/peers who have attempted or died by suicide predicts future suicide attempts in adolescence
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