This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Suicide on the Rise
The problem of mental health has become something of a hot button topic over the past decade. Despite the attention this problem receives, however, it hasn’t done much to alleviate the suffering of those who experience such tragedy. It is not all unwarranted. Suicide has become the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34.
It seems as though society has accepted suicide as a decision up to the individual instead of an insult to human nature, as it has been in the past. Something truly awful that has come as a result of this new mindset that some (particularly those in the medical community) have adopted is the advent of “Suicide Booths.” These coffin like pods quickly fill with Nitrogen gas that fill the occupants lungs ending their lives through suffocation.
The death pods haven’t as of yet been introduced into mainstream medical facilities. It is an indication of an attempt to de-stigmatize the issue of suicide. Another more troubling contribution to the problem of youth suicide is the effect of the show 13 Reasons Why. The show glorifies the struggle of young adolescents who decide to enter into a suicide pact. Scientific studies have shown that youth already struggling with suicidal thoughts were more likely to act on them after watching the Netflix original series.
Victor Hong is medical director of psychiatric emergency services at Michigan Medicine and lead author of the study. He had this to say: “Although further research is needed, the findings suggest a particular vulnerability to the show’s themes among youths at risk of suicide and the importance of prevention strategies to ameliorate risk among these viewers.”
What are the Signs?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says suicide across the population has been on the rise since 2005. If left unchecked, it may rise up to the rates of the 90s. As indicated by the chart the majority of deaths resulting from suicide attempts are among males. This however does not mean that men attempt suicide more. The opposite is actually true. Women on average attempt suicide more frequently than men. Men’s attempts to commit suicide are more often successful.
What can the parents of these kids do in order to be more proactive and possibly prevent experiencing such a horrible tragedy? According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, some risk factors include: mental illness/psychiatric diagnosis, family history of suicide and physical/sexual abuse. Some warning signs include: preoccupation with death, intense sadness and hopelessness, and not caring about activities that used to matter.