Suicide Amongst Youth and Adolescents
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Suicide (i.e., taking ones own life) is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. The CDC goes on to state that Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24 years of age, which results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year. Even with the problematic issue of lives lost, suicide is only one part of the problem; the other half of the problem is suicide attempts. Results from a nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 in public and private schooling in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reported trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the United States.
With all of the statistical information one can see that Suicide and Self inflicted injuries resulting from suicide attempts are very prevalent in today’s society amongst youths and adolescents. To further explore these topics I will compare and contrast the thinking’s of four articles, Miller et al (2010), Pisani et al (2013), Saha et al (2013) and Zetterqvist et al (2013).
In accordance with the CDC, which states that some of the risk factors in suicide includes but are not limited to, history of previous suicide attempted, family history of suicide, history of depression or mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, stressful life event or loss, easy access to lethal methods, exposure to the suicidal behavior of others and incarceration, Pisani et al (2013) also believes that when it comes to stressful life events and loss, children who commit suicide or attempt to, lack strategies for effective emotional regulation .
In their journal article Pisani et al (2013), used a cross sectional design to test the hypothesis regarding associations between self reported suicide attempts, emotion regulation difficulties and positive youth-adult relationships, among boys and girls in a predominately rural, low income community (p. 807). What they found was emotion regulation difficulties and a lack of trusted adults at home were associated with increased risk for making a suicide attempt, above and beyond the effects of depressive symptoms and demographic factors (p. 808). Pisani et al (2013) study was motivated by an emerging model for preventing suicidal behavior that center on enhancing adolescent skills and resources to reduce emotional distress that is a proximate risk factor for suicidal behavior (p. 815). In terms of prevention/ intervention, Pisani et al (2013) states, that it may be helpful to consider strategies for promoting youth-parent communication and supportive parenting, which generally have not received direct focus from school and community-based suicide prevention programs. Another prevention/intervention strategy would be to identify specific emotion regulation strategies that could be targeted at a population level to enhance student’s repertoire for responding to and recovering from painful emotions (p. 816).
In unison with the Pisani et al (2013) article, Miller et al (2010), also believes that having a trustworthy support system and positive relationships within a youth’s life minimizes suicide attempts. Miller et al (2010) examined the association of family conflict and family cohesion with adolescent suicidality (p. 523). They found that children of families who offer minimal support have a greater likelihood of failing to develop a sense of trust in their environment. Also, this lack of trust in people and interpersonal relationships result in problematic attachments with the outside world as well as increased feelings of loneliness and isolation (p. 524). Miller et al (2010) believes the suicidal problem designation is less the individuals problem but more so the families problem. Miller et al (2010), state, children’s first social support group is their family unit. So it is important to examine the family characteristics resulting in problematic childhood outsources (p.525). In accordance with Miller et al (2010), there are wide ranges of evidence that suggest that children and adolescents who are apart of maladaptive dysfunctional and abusive family environments have a greater risk of later suicidal behavior. In agreement with Pisani et al (2013), Miller also believes that prevention/intervention ideas could include teaching individuals coping skills and emotion regulation techniques, but in addition also teaching these skills to parents.
Just like Miller et al (2010), Saha et al (2013), believes that the problem designation for suicide amongst youth stems from within the family unit. Even more in depth, Saha et al (2013) believes that suicide and suicidal attempts stem from a complex psycho-social interactions that can result in children being subjected to neglect, maltreatment and abuse, resulting in emotional and mental health issues in adolescents. These long-term mental health consequences of abuse in childhood include suicidal attempts (p. 216). This is in accordance with Zetterqvist et al (2013), which states, multiple sexual abuse and high rates of physical assault increased the risk of suicide attempts (p 1269). Prevention/ Intervention techniques include medication for therapy of victims of child abuse who are suffering from depression, anxiety and other symptoms but have been seen to be ineffective without holistic care involving individual and family therapy (p. 215). The individual therapy would be directed towards helping adolescents control their suicidal feelings (emotion regulation) and seek out sources of support other than their parents, whereas the family therapy would allow for families to communicate with one another in a more positive way (p. 216). Both Miller et al (2010) and Saha et al (2013) share similar feelings, only thing different would be the addition of family therapy to allow a more holistic approach to therapy
Just as with the first 3 articles that believed emotional regulation and family units played a prevalent role in youth and suicide, Zetterqvist et al (2013), also believed these theories but choose to focus not only on suicidal youth but also (NSSI) non-suicidal self injurious youth. Zetterqvist et al (2013) found that both suicidal and NSSI youth reported significantly more adverse life events and trauma symptoms than adolescents with only NSSI, regardless of NSSI frequency (p.1257). Zetterqvist et al (2013), states that NSSI is sometimes viewed as a form of coping behavior, regulating affective and social experiences, whereas the intention of a suicide attempt is to permanently end distress and suffering (p.1258)