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Youth Suicide Risk Increased in a Number of Different Disorders

Updated on September 19, 2014
Suicide Prevention Awareness Day
Suicide Prevention Awareness Day | Source
Depression | Source
Anxiety | Source
Bi Polar
Bi Polar | Source
Schizophrenia | Source

World Suicide Prevention Day

Why Is It Still Happening?

World Suicide Prevention Day has recently taken place globally and In spite of increased community and educational awareness suicide is still responsible for most youth deaths world wide. Each year approximately 1 million desperate people across the globe say no to life and suicide. ( WHO, 2004 ) Even though statistics tell us that suicide rates have declined in the past decade, the rate of mental health disorders in youth has not changed, and in fact have increased . Many professionals working with adolescents believe that this is a key reason why suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people aged 15 to 25 years. In Australia 1 in 5 school age children are diagnosed with depression and 1 out of 10 are diagnosed with Anxiety. In an average school classroom of 30 students that equates to 6 students with depression and 3 with anxiety.

World Health Stats Suicide tops the list across the globe before other causes of death such as violence or traffic accidents, to claim the most common cause of death in young female adolescents, and takes third place as most common cause of death in male adolescents.

While it is no surprise to learn that substance abuse, family break down and violence including physical, emotional and sexual abuse are major risk factors for youth suicide, this article will highlight risk factors associated with mental health disorders and their implications for youth on suicide.

Some General Stats.

  • Suicide rates have increased across the Western world exponentially since 1960, particularly in older teen males. In America, Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand suicide rates have doubled in the 15 to 25 year age group which correlates with the high increase in anxiety and depression in late teen and early twenty year olds. Although recent research shows in the past 10 years that there has been a decline overall globally, much still needs to be done to ensure less loss of life.
  • There is some evidence to indicate that troubled Gay and Lesbian youth more often attempt suicide than do their heterosexual peers.
  • Teenage suicides are often linked to depression and or substance abuse; may follow a traumatic event such as a break up of a relationship; or school bullying; can soon follow another known suicide and be seen as copy cat suicides.

Suicide in Australia:

Australian Bureau of Statistics

According to it's 2010 publication titled 'causes of death' the (ABS) indicates that, suicide was still the leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.

And reassuring as it is to find that;

  • The age-standardised rate of suicide in Australia has declined from 12.7 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2001 to 10.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2010.
  • Young males (15-34 years of age) have had the sharpest decline in suicide; the rate of suicide declined by 34% for 15-24 year olds and 46% for 25-34 year olds between 2001 and 2010.

It is still cause for concern that;

  • Males continue to account for approximately three in four suicide deaths.

Reach Out

The Australian initiative, a leading youth mental health service who provide online help for young people 24 hours a day state that;

  • In Australia 1 in 4 young people live with a mental illness.
  • In the average classroom of 30 students 7 young people will have experienced a recognized mental health difficulty but only 2 will have sought professional help. At least 1 will have attempted suicide.
  • It has been found that most mental illness begins before a young person turns 25 in about 75% of all diagnoses.

Depression and Anxiety are Major causes of Youth Suicide

  • Depression has been found to be a leading risk factor. A Mental health illness such as depression which reduces the rate of serotonin in the brain needed for mood control can change the way people think and make it difficult to see a way through their problems. Feelings of hopelessness and despair can in turn cause a young person to feel trapped, overwhelmed and negative about their future and can pave the way for suicidal ideation to occur.
  • Anxiety In the past anxiety had not been considered as a stand alone trigger for suicide and in recent years studies are leaning toward the conclusion that anxiety is a high risk factor particularly with other co morbid conditions such as impulsivity, obsessive compulsive disorders etc. Current empirical studies on the link between anxiety and suicidality in youth in the last 5 years are rather scarce and more research is necessary, but anxiety as with depression is a known high risk factor for suicide and in itself has significant impact on youth mental health.

Warning signs ( taken from Fact sheet 14 Youth Beyond Blue )

  • Not all pre suicidal warning signs are clear and many people miss significant signs that indicate a young person's vulnerabilty for suicide. Signs for instance such as anger and irritability are more prevalent in young men than perhaps hopelessness and despair in older men and they are often thought of as 'just an angry kid'. However some of the following may be an obvious indicator that a young person could be contemplating suicide.

    1. a sense of worthlessness, feeling hopeless, pessimistic about the future and finds it hard to find anything to live for.
    2. feels overwhelmed, trapped and can't see a way out of their problems
    3. talks, writes or draws pictures about themselves or others dying
    4. refuses to go out, spends long hours in their room on their own away from family and friends
    5. hits drugs and alcohol excessively
    6. wants to give away their personal belongings
    7. participates in dangerous activities, often those that threaten their life

Recent Article An interesting article taken from the Psychotherapy & Counseling Federation of Australia, September 1, 2012 confirms that strengthening family relationships is a strong protective factor against suicide:

'Intervention with suicidal adolescents should target protective processes such as strengthening family relationships which have long lasting effects compared to individual therapy. Treating depression is not enough to reduce suicidal risk in young people, impulsivity and aggression must also be targeted'


When young people disclose ideas about suicide even in jest, or make an attempt to self harm or suicide, it is imperative to take it seriously and understand that they are emotionally desperate and it is a cry for help. It is also vital to be aware that in almost every disclosure, joke, diary entry etc that there are underlying mental health problems such as depression which need to be treated. If you know or work with a young person and have observed these or other similar behaviors it is imperative that they get help immediately and contact one of the following helplines;

United States Ring 911 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800 273 TALK

Australia Ring 000 or

Lifeline 131114 or Online web chat

Kid's Helpline - 1800 55 1800 or Online web chat

Current Research Brings Hope for Future

The European Symposium of Suicide and Suicidal Behavior (ESSSB) took place in Israel in September. A great deal of current research was presented which will in time contribute to changes in practice, and hopefully make a difference in saving young lives.

Mad World


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    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Anil and Honey - It seems that Youth suicide is without doubt a very sad worldwide problem...thanks for your comments & thoughts on this difficult isssue.Cheers

    • Anil and Honey profile image

      Anil 5 years ago from Kerala

      Very planed and studied hub thanks for sharing. Yes it is the main problem of the world, especially in my country(India)unemployment,poverty,education and family problems etc are the sources.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Oh thank you so much Happyboomernurse...I really appreciate your comments, and insight, on this extremely important subject, and value your's up to us that care about young lives to do whatever we can do to help and protect them...cheers

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      This is a comprehensive, well researched article about a very important topic that affects youth around the world, and I like the fact that you included some excellent resource links.

      I agree that even though statistics are decreasing, suicide awareness must continue to be promoted, but even more importantly, the underlying causes of it must be addressed and treated.

      I think it's good when research and best practices are shared globally and am glad that this is being done by symposiums attended by experts from many countries.

      Thanks for sharing this information.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thanks Ingenira for sharing that story, it's so good the mum could talk to her girl & you are so right there is always a better way out of any problem than to take your own life - thanks for your insight...

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 5 years ago

      Just a few days ago, a mother shared with me her conversation with her 9 year old daughter. They are Christians and they talked about how nice heaven is, which is different from earth. Then, one day, the daughter said since heaven is such a nice place to be, she wants to go to heaven. The mother took the opportunity to explain suicide to her. She said, when a person commits suicide, she doesn't go to heaven, since it is against God's will. She goes straight to hell.

      I hope, any of the readers who has considered committing suicide will find a way out of the excruxiating situation. It is a temporary situation, you will get out it sooner or later.

      carter06, great article ! I like to see statistics.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thanks for your comments dinkan53 and your votes & share, much sure is the best thing we get!!

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      Life is the best thing we get and suicide should be dealt with in a very serious matter and thanks for providing this type of useful article to help people aware of the seriousness of suicide. Voted and shared!

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      The stats blow your mind don't they!!! It's tragic that so many people feel like this and so often many signs, as the stats tell us are not picked up, hence loss of lives...thanks for dropping by Mike it is sad, so sad that's why it's important to raise awareness...thanks for your comments...

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      This is a truly sad read this morning. It appears you put hours of research into this. If it helps one person, you are repaid with an extraordinary amount of Karma. I guess I was aware of this issue, but not to the extend it is present. A million suicides a year is heart breaking.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thank you rcrumple for your very thoughtful is such a tragedy that a long term solution is way too often sought for a most often short term's so important to raise awareness such as the international day...cheers

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thank you Mr C for your comment...I agree if more people are made aware of the warning signs it can be so helpful for prevention...cheers

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Hi Bill so nice to see you here and thanks for your concern and input...there is no doubt that regardless of the decline suicide is still far too frequent especially amongst youth...being aware of and reading the signs is so important and may certainly save lives...cheers

      Btw are you back from that delicious holiday yet:)loved the photos and journeying with you...

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      There are times when tragedies occur in a child's life that there seems to be no better way to escape the situation. It is sad, but often not understood by those that sometimes create the problems. There is much more help in today's world for these children, but only if they can get it before another tragedy occurs. Very strong message and great hub!

    • profile image

      Mr C 5 years ago

      great article very sad that it is still happening but if more people are made aware, intervention can happen ASAP.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      It's so hard tillsontitan to believe that young people at the beginning of life feel that bad that they can't see anything good to live for...yet so many some schools self harm is acutely present and thoughts of suicide far too common...if only it were not! you are right connection with a trusted loving parent/adult is vital... Thank you so much for your concern, comments & votes etc, they mean a lot, even more so on this one...cheers

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      my girl sara thank you for being a concerned and thoughtful reader, youth self harm and suicide is far too common and is hurtful for all involved and can happen in any family...I can feel your pain in this...I have felt this all too often working with youth over the years and I feel also that if there is something to hang onto outside of themselves like faith it can make all the difference to mental well being...I'm so sorry it has impacted on you 4 times...that is 4 times too many...thank you for your input it is much appreciated...cheers

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Carter. Thanks for bringing issue to the forefront. It's so sad to hear that so many young people can find no alternative other than suicide. The statistics are shocking. We all need to be aware of the tell-tale signs that someone is suffering and take action when we think someone is in trouble.

      Thanks for sharing. VU, sharing, etc.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Even though we read about it, it is hard to believe that these young people think life is not worth living. Every time I hear of a young person committing suicide it breaks my heart. As with all our societal ills, it starts with family...two parents (when possible) and a loving, caring atmosphere to grow up in.

      This hub is certainly an eye-opener and you've done your homework. Voted up, useful, and interesting. Shared with followers.

    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 5 years ago from Georgia

      I am glad you are making people aware of the severe suicide problem. It is shocking to hear the stories my daughter bring home telling of how her friends are cutting themselves. These are often middle class children from good home. In my opinion, suicide is not a disease like menengitis or cancer. I believe it is more of a spiritual problem. It is only through mine and my children's relationship with Jesus that we are better able to handle life's challenges. We journey through them together as well as with other like minded individuals. Suicide is an epidemic that effects people of all ages and socioeconomic groups. It is one we need to take seriously. I can personally name at least 4 people who have taken their own life. It pains me greatly.