Suicide is the act of intentionally and deliberately causing death to oneself. It is among the leading causes of death among adolescents. Suicide victims often express symptoms such as withdrawal from people around them, preoccupation with death thoughts, making suicidal statements, and giving up on their well-being. Once the adolescents start showing suicide-related symptoms, they should be taken to see health care providers immediately for screening and assessment. Early diagnosis helps not only in saving lives but also in the resumption of life normalcy.
Suicide exposure in adolescents has adverse psychological effects, which manifest in their thinking and behavior. This can explain some of their weird behaviors and thoughts (Rosa et al., 2019). A study is carried out on the effect of watching 13 Reasons Why. This is a television series on a student who committed suicide and its impact on her colleagues. It worsened the mood of students who had previously experienced suicide ideation, thus reviving the memories of the past that they had already healed. It also increases the vulnerability of the students to mental health-related issues (Rosa et al., 2019). It affected students’ psychological well-being; some started developing suicidal ideation and weird behavior changes.
13 Reasons Why further affected the cognitive ability of the students who watched it. Their participation and contribution in class were adversely affected, thus interfering with the routine learning process. The students seemed sad and lacked motivation during learning sessions. These are cognitive capability challenges that adolescents go through when they are exposed to suicide incidences (Rosa et al., 2019). It contributes to poor performance and even giving up due to a lack of motivation to continue pursuing their studies.
There are several risk factors that expose adolescents to attempting or committing suicide. Mental disorders contribute to the increase in the number of cases of adolescent suicide worldwide. They may cause anxiety and depression where the victims find suicide as a solution to their problems. A previous suicide attempt is a risk factor that puts adolescents at risk of suicide. About 25-33% of suicide cases are linked to a history of earlier failed attempts; this indicates that victims who have had prior attempts are on the verge of committing it again (Bilsen, 2018). The family factor is another issue that may trigger adolescents to commit suicide. Constant arguments and misunderstandings in family setups hinder proper communication; this prevents adolescents from expressing themselves to their parents and getting redressed. This may compel them to commit suicide and end their psychological torture.
There are several intervention measures in place to help mitigate the rising cases of suicide among adolescents. Any adolescent showing suicidal symptoms is encouraged to go to or be taken to a health care provider for assessment and treatment. This will help curb the issues from escalating to an irredeemable state (Kwak & Ickovics, 2019). In addition, adolescents are trained to be support persons for victims of failed or aborted suicide attempts; they will support suicide victims through the recovery journey and prevent relapse. These peers are trained to offer adherence support, positive behaviors, and psycho-social support (King et al., 2019). Adolescents on the verge of committing suicide should be provided with the necessary tools to counter the triggering factors such as depression. This will enable them to avoid or persevere by building resilience against the stressing factors.
Bilsen, J. (2018). Suicide and Youth: Risk Factors. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9.
King, C. A., Arango, A., Kramer, A., Busby, D., Czyz, E., Foster, C. E., & Gillespie, B. W. (2019). Association of the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents With 11- to 14-Year Mortality Outcomes. JAMA Psychiatry, 76(5), 492.
Kwak, C. W., & Ickovics, J. R. (2019). Adolescent Suicide in South Korea: Risk Factors and Proposed Multi-Dimensional Solution. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 43, 150–153.
Rosa, G. S., Andrades, G. S., Caye, A., Hidalgo, M. P., Oliveira, M. A., & Pilz, L. K. (2019). Thirteen Reasons Why: The Impact of Suicide Portrayal on Adolescents’ Mental Health. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 108, 2–6.