Free Essay Sample on Teen Depression and Suicide

Published: 2022-03-15
Free Essay Sample on Teen Depression and Suicide
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Depression Literature review
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1634 words
14 min read

Suicide among teens and young adults continues to be a major problem. In this respect, suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, teens and young adults of ages four to twenty-four. Among teenagers, suicide attempts are typically impulsive and are often associated with the feelings of confusion, anger, or problems with hyperactivity or attention. Furthermore, attempts of suicide are also associated with feelings of self-doubt, stress, financial uncertainty, disappointment, the pressure to succeed and loss. Such feelings are more so associated with teenagers and young adults and as such, teens often view suicide as the solution to their problems.

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The suicide rates among teenagers according to a recent survey by the center for disease control (Kroning & Kroning, 2016) has reached a new time high with the analysis on the rates of teen suicides showing an increase in the rates across the board between two thousand and seven and two thousand and fifteen. The survey showed that the suicide rates for boys have increased by thirty-one percent for teen boys and double for teen girls during 2007 and 2017. In light of such staggering numbers, it is a sobering reminder that teen depression and suicide is a growing public health concern presenting teens and young adults as a, particularly vulnerable group. With numerous studies revealing that teen depression is on the rise, consequently, suicide among teens is inevitably a major risk during such a major depressive episode.

According to McLoughlin, Gould, and Malone (2015), teen depression is a serious problem. In the recent past, it has been revealed that about eleven percent of teens suffer from major depressive disorder by the time they reach the age of eighteen. More so, the United States Institute of Mental Health has found that over two million teenagers and young adults, by the year two thousand and thirteen, suffered periods of major depression. As further pointed out by Stewart et al. (2015), if such periods of major depression are not treated appropriately and in a timely fashion, the intense feelings of loss, hopelessness, frustration, and anger often associated with depression can last for weeks months and at times years eventually culminating in suicide.

Reports from the world health organization indicate that over 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression thus making depression a major contributor of suicidal thoughts not only among teenagers but in all people of all demographics (McLoughlin, Gould, and Malone 2015). It is thus paramount to understand and recognize the symptoms of major depression so as to offer treatment thus mitigating such adverse consequences as pain, suffering and possible death. However, in the case of teenagers, changes in their daily behavior are often perceived as the norm or a rite of passage, as a result, most of their symptoms are often disregarded as a phase. But it is critical to understand the risk factors and signs for teen suicide. As such, according to Wyatt et al. (2015), with the increasing suicide rates of teens and young adults, a comprehensive understanding of the warning signs is important to offer help to depressed and suicidal teens.

Brausch and Decker (2014) in their article recognize and note that all teens are different and as such, most if not all are capable and proficient at masking their real feeling. To that end, it becomes very challenging identifying signs of depression and the outcomes such as ideas of suicide. There are various factors that may lead teens to be depressed. Various studies have revealed that depression may result from insufficient or too much of certain chemicals in the brain, a history of depression in the family, challenging live events such as the death of a loved or divorce, negative pattern of thoughts or side effects of certain medication (Stewart, Kim, Esposito, Gold, Nock, & Auerbach, 2015). On the other hand, the majority of teenagers do exhibit some of the symptoms.

According to McLoughlin (2015), there are various ways by which teens act out when depressed in order to deal with their emotional pain. The majority of teens have problems in schools in that they have low energy and have difficulty concentrating which often leads lower attendance and decreasing academic performance resulting in a frustrated student. Additionally, many depressed teens run away or talk about running away from home, start abusing alcohol and drugs in an attempt to self medicate their depressed state, have low self esteem, become addicted to their electronic devices such as smartphones, engage in reckless behavior such as reckless sexual activities and ultimately depressed teens become overly aggressive and violent.

Consequently, unlike adults, depression in teenagers presents quite differently. For instance, depressed teenagers do not necessarily appear to be sad, rather they are constantly irritable, angry, and agitated. As such, the symptoms more common in depressed teens as indicated by Kroning and Kroning (2016) include irritability as opposed to sadness which is the predominant mood among depressed teens. As such, depressed teens are prone to bursts of anger, are easily frustrated, and are hostile and grumpy. Another symptom synonymous with depressed teens is extreme sensitivity to criticism as they are always overwhelmed with the feelings of worthlessness. Furthermore, depressed teens often complain of unexplained pains and aches such as headaches and stomachaches that are not evident during physical examinations. Depressed teens are also more likely to withdraw from some but not all the individuals in their lives. As noted by Brausch and Decker (2014), unlike depressed adults that completely isolate themselves, depressed teens tend to maintain some of their close friendships, on the other hand, depressed teens socialize less while pulling away from their parents and their usual crowd.

Such symptoms in teens are often a cry for help as depression is often leads t attempts of self-harm which if left unchecked can lead to suicide. According to Kroning (2016), about seventeen percent of teenagers and high school students have contemplated suicide, with thirteen percent having made a suicide plan, and about eight percent reporting that they have attempted suicide at least once in the past year. As a result, there is also a need to recognize and quickly identify when the signs of depression gradually evolve into symptoms of a suicidal teenager. Severely depressed teens typically talk about, think about and occasionally make attempts at killing themselves. Consequently, is it a paramount to identify and take any thoughts or behaviors of suicide very seriously. Some of the symptoms of a suicidal teen include constantly talking about self harm and committing suicide, talking about feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, changes in sleep patterns that cycle between hypersomnia and insomnia, lack of hope for the future by feeling that nothing will ever improve in the future as well as getting their affairs in order.

Depression among teens is a very debilitating situation if left untreated. According to various studies on the relationship between teen depression and rates of suicide (Wyatt, Ung, Park, Kwon, & Trinh-Shevrin, 2015), suicide attempts in teens is usually as a result of long-standing problems that adolescents often view as permanent situations while in the real sense they are temporary problems that can be dealt with if the appropriate assistance is provided. Stewart (2015) states that in an event of a possibly depressed and suicidal teenager, parents, guardians, and teachers should bring up such concerns to the teenager in a loving and non-judgmental manner and above all not make the assumption that symptoms of depression will eventually go away. Subsequent open dialogue is crucial when dealing with a depressed and suicidal teenager.

In this regard, Wyatt (2015) observes that open communication is necessary as it lets depressed teenagers know of the symptoms of depression they are presenting and why such clear symptoms are a cause for concern. Communication with a depressed teen thus should primarily focus more on listening to the teen as opposed to lecturing. Additionally, Brausch (2014) reiterates and adds that such communication should be persistent but gentle as depressed teens find it hard to express their feelings. Consequently, acknowledging their feelings plays a huge role in preventing self-harm or suicidal thoughts in depressed teens. As stated by Kroning and Kroning (2016) acknowledging a depressed teens feelings goes a long way in making the depressed teenager feels supported and understood.

Various studies have revealed that about eighty percent of teenagers that think about killing themselves and have suicidal behaviors, in reality, want those around them to be aware of their pain and suffering so as to stop them from harming themselves. However, it is unfortunate that most people think that talking about suicide with adolescents will promote such suicidal ideas among teenagers. But, as pointed out by McLoughlin, Gould, and Malone (2015), talking about suicide with anybody, not just teens, does not increase the chances of suicidal thoughts. Thus open communications on the symptoms of depression and suicide are paramount in dealing with this issue. Additionally, although teen depression and suicide face limited community resources to adequately deal with it, evidence-based screening and various treatment options are available.


Brausch, A. M., & Decker, K. M. (2014). Self-Esteem and Social Support as Moderators of Depression, Body Image, and Disordered Eating for Suicidal Ideation in Adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 779-789.

Kroning, M., & Kroning, K. (2016). Teen Depression and Suicide: A Silent Crisis. Journal of Christian Nursing, 78-86.

McLoughlin, A. B., Gould, M. S., & Malone, K. M. (2015). Global trends in teenage suicide: 2003-2014. An International Journal of Medicine, 765-780.

Stewart, J. G., Kim, J. C., Esposito, E. C., Gold, J., Nock, M. K., & Auerbach, R. P. (2015). Predicting suicide attempts in depressed adolescents: Clarifying the role of disinhibition and childhood sexual abuse. Journal of affective disorders, 27-34.

Wyatt, L. C., Ung, T., Park, R., Kwon, S. C., & Trinh-Shevrin, C. (2015). Risk factors of suicide and depression among Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander youth: a systematic literature review. Journal of health care for the poor and underserved, 191-237.

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