Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Article / Essay » Health

12+

Mental Illness and Suicidality among Youth

by manilla


A/N: A friend's essay.

--

Suicide has ranked as first in Europe and Southeast Asia, and closely second in the US as a cause of death for adolescents. Further research has additionally concluded that the frequency of suicides increases in correlation with the chronological progression through adolescence (Gould, et al), increasing significantly in older adolescents before stabilizing in early adulthood and maintaining this level until the sixth decade (McLoughlin, et al). In correlation, a recent rise in the prevalence of mental disorders has additionally been observed among the youth. Whilst the frequency of mental illness mirrors that of suicidality, increasing alongside the continuance of adolescence (“Mental Health By the Numbers”), recently, 1 in 5 adolescents, ages ranging from childhood to late teenage years, are believed to currently experience a severe mental disorder ("Mental Health By The Numbers"). A direct relationship is clear among suicidality and mental illness, observed keenly in the individual, unprecedented records each sets in its own abundance, seemingly parallel to the other aptly in youth. It can be thus understood that, in adolescence, the effects of mental illness are elevated, therefore increasing density of occuring suicides isolated to that demographic—something concerning the specific nature of adolescence prompts this. Elevated suicide rates among the youth can be attributed to a rise in mental illness, often aided by experience with bullying, exposure to the media, and drug activity.

Depression, as characterized most habitually by sentiments of despondency, is a mood disorder most commonly associated with suicidality. Feelings of worthlessness and excessive or inappropriate guilt tend to consume the thoughts of those who host the illness, presently instilled in daily life, expressed by subtle behaviours that all serve as a small indication of such emotions. Such behaviours, as derived from a lack of physical worth, tend to be palpable in nature—significant weight gain or loss; sleep patterns veering from one extreme, insomnia, to another, hypersomnia; fatigue or loss of energy; change in activity, ranging from psychomotor agitation, the unnecessary, compulsive moving of the body, to retardation. Other inclinations include the impaired function of normal activities, such as are decreased concentration, breeding indecisiveness; and anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure. The final symptom, not necessarily physical, though still with its origins in worthlessness: suicidality in and of itself. (“Diagnostic Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder and Depressive Episodes”).

Depression can be acquired just as any severe illness can, both genetically and environmentally. Genetically, several studies have been conducted validating the heritability of the illness. In one of the copious case studies pertaining to the subject, five family studies of major depression were proposed, each study contributing evidence in support of the familial aggregation of major depression in probands, the individual whom was first affected, compared with comparison subjects. Across each study, there was strong evidence for an association between major depression in the proband and major depression in first-degree relatives (Sullivan, et al). Further investigation has shown the genetic predisposition of depression to be 70% (Pezawas, et al).

Environmental factors can be both be the derivation of Depression and an exacerbation of a pre-existing illness.

Bullying, as defined as aggressive behavior or intentional ‘‘harm doing’’ by one person or a group, generally carried out repeatedly and over time, and which involves a power differential (Hinduja and Patchin), is, arguably, the largest environmental factor niche to an adolescent demographic. Not yet matured to independence, hundreds of youth congregate in the confines of a school building, limited in capacity and supervision. Opportunity is inevitable. Studies report 42% of students to concede to such an argument; 17% of students reported being bullied, 19% reported bullying others, and 6% reported both being bullied and bullying others ‘‘sometimes’’ or ‘‘weekly’ (Hinduja and Patchin).

Such interaction, though objectively condemned and partial without consideration, clearly done in a deliberate effort to empower the perpetrator, leaves no participant unscathed. Youth who are exposed to bullying—as the perpetrator or the victim—are at an elevated risk of suicidality (Klomek, et al). Such can be understood when regarding research that shows how experience with peer harassment, in either respect, contributes to depression—eliciting decreased self-worth, hopelessness, and loneliness—all of which are precursors to suicidal thoughts and behavior (Hinduja and Patchin); those involved, compared to non-victims, found to very quickly exhibit high levels of suicidal ideation (Klomek, et al).

Its latest evolution, cyberbullying, is characterized as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices (Hinduja and Patchin). As the proliferation and accessibility of technology advances, the growing platform for bullying falls into the hands of an ever expanding audience. Such has been seen in 25-55% of students who attest to their involvement; approximately 15– 35% of students have been victims of cyberbullying while about 10–20% of students admit to cyberbullying others. Within few years of its proliferation, numerous cases emerged of suicide either indirectly or directly influenced by experiences with online aggression; it has only grown in density (Hinduja and Patchin).

Drugs and other addictive substances can be very harmful to the human body. They can also be extremely problemental when it comes to our mental health. Just by having a drug or alcohol addiction makes you 6 times more likely than those who do not have a substance addiction (Dragisic et al.). The reason for this tremendous increase in suicide rates for those who abuse substances coincides with the fact that drug and other substance abuse shows signs of leading people to more impulsive behavior (Diu, Nisha Lilia.). This can be an issue because those who abuse substances and have a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, and who have thoughts of attempting suicide are much more likely to actually attempt suicide due to their extremely impulsive behavior. And to add to the issue in most cases of suicide committed by drug and substance abusers an overdose is the primary cause of death. (Dragisic et al.)

Copycat suicide is the theory that there is a correlation between suicide in the population, and suicide shown in the media. Copycat suicide is based upon the terms of social learnings theory, which says that when one with mental illness views another person with mental illness commit suicide as an escape for themselves the viewers are more likely to use suicide as an escape from their own predicament. (Stack, Steven) The largest case of reported copycat suicide occurred after the infamous suicide of Marilyn Monroe. Typically after a suicide is projected through the media the rate of attempted suicide spikes to about 2.5% higher, but after the suicide of Marilyn Monroe suicide rates spiked to a steep rate of 12% more.(Stack, Steven) This is incredibly concerning considering the spike in mental health issues that could be affecting celebrities, and with more suicides in the media the more suicides occur to the general population. This is why Copycat suicide is so incredibly dangerous.

Mental illness and suicide rates have a shocking correlation. More than 90% of of suicides are committed by someone who was proven to be a victim of mental illness (Mann, et al.) An even more shocking fact is that 60 to 70% of those with mental illness who commit suicide suffer from depression. This mental illness can do serious harm to the human mind, and eventually as noted be to much pressure for some to bear, rather than reach out for help some people's only escape is to take their own life. Because of this those who suffer from depression are 25 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not suffer from depression (“Depression and Suicide Risk”). This is very alarming because out of the entirety of youth ⅕ suffer from depression, and as rates of mental illness only keep on rising in the youth we can only hope to find a way to help these children, and lower the suicide rate for youths.

Though mental illness still looms above the heads of adolescents, persisting as time wears and opportunities arise, with its prevalence breeds awareness, in on way or another. Numerous diverse approaches to suicide prevention have been incorporated into high school curriculums in the past 15 years (Aseltine, et al), though none have worked as efficiently as those introduced as of late. The Signs of Suicide Program, a school-based prevention program, combines efforts to raise awareness of suicide and its related issues with a brief screening for depression and other risk factors associated with suicidal behavior. The program promotes the relationship between mental illness and suicidality, instructing students as to the appropriate approach to take when recognizing its characteristics in themselves and others. It provides depression screenings, offering further consolation to students registering as clinically depressed. With its goal in mind, “to raise awareness of suicide and its related issues with a brief screening for depression and other risk factors associated with suicidal behavior,” it has found marginal success, striving beyond expectation, as its students report significant gains in relevant knowledge and attitudes toward help seeking and intervening with afflicted peers, those attending sessions reporting a decrease in depression and an increase in personal control, problem-solving, coping, self-esteem, and family support (Aseltine, et al). If other programs strive to do as they have, promoting education and providing aid to those in need, hopefully, the epidemic of suicide among the youth will be extinguished. 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar
624 Reviews


Points: 23875
Reviews: 624

Donate
Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:31 am
ShadowVyper wrote a review...



Hey Manilla,

Or Manilla's friend, as the case may be ;) Shady here with a review for your essay this fine evening. My style is to make comments as I'm reading about anything that stands out to me, then giving a general overview of my thoughts at the end. Let's get started...

Suicide has ranked as first in Europe and Southeast Asia, and closely second in the US as a cause of death for adolescents.


You could rephrase this sentence to make it a bit clearer. What I think I'm getting from this is that the most common cause of death in adolescents in Europe and SE Asia is suicide, and it ranks second as the cause of death in adolescents in the US -- but with the way it's phrased I could also interpret it has Europe and SE are tied for having the highest suicide rates with the US having the second highest. You see how those are different statements?

breeding indecisiveness


You might want to rephrase this. It's probably my inner zoologist, but my brain was interpreting "breeding" as in "reproduction" and this was just a strange phrase to have that mental image attached haha.

Also your entire paragraph dealing with depression you might want to find some more support for. I suspect all of that information came from the source that you cited at the end of the paragraph, but you did such a good job of citing sources in the first paragraph and then as I was reading the second paragraph my brain kept wondering where your support was for all of those claims, so if you could find other sources to corroborate those claims that you could then slip citations into the passage I think that would be good.

copious case studies


Hmm I'm not sure "copious" is the word you want here. It's technically correct but in use it generally has different nuances. I think just a "numerous" would be appropriate here.

Environmental factors can be both be the derivation of Depression


Depression isn't a proper noun. It shouldn't be capitalized unless it's the first word of a sentence.

Opportunity is inevitable.


I'm really not sure what you mean by this sentence. You might want to look at a way to rephrase it so that your meaning is clearer?

Drugs and other addictive substances can be very harmful to the human body. They can also be extremely problemental when it comes to our mental health.


So I agree with this first sentence. But it's not a great transitional statement. It kind of feels like you're pulling drugs out of thin air immediately after talking about bullying. A statement more like "Drugs and other addictive substances can be extremely problematic when it comes to our mental health, in addition to being harmful to the human body." Would make that link that you're trying to make a bit clearer than how you have it now.

Also, side note, problemental isn't actually a word ;) Think you're looking for problematic.

Just by having a drug or alcohol addiction makes you 6 times more likely than those who do not have a substance addiction (Dragisic et al.).


More likely for what?? I get that suicide is implied but this is an incredibly vague sentence that you should edit to make it clearer.

Copycat suicide is the theory that there is a correlation between suicide in the population, and suicide shown in the media.


Here is another example of where you could make your transition a bit stronger. This is a good sentence, but it doesn't really make the link between your last statement and this statement incredibly clear -- kind of messes with the flow of your essay, and you want concepts to flow nicely from one statement to the next in academic writing.

So maybe like "In addition to the hereditary and bullying factors that can contribute to suicide rates, copycat suicide is also a threat that needs to be reduced." Followed immediately by the sentence that you currently have for the first one in that paragraph.

Obviously not that exact example -- that is kind of crap because it's the first thing that popped into my sleep-deprived brain, but I think it's sufficient to give you something to think about so that you kind of know what I mean.

An even more shocking fact is that 60 to 70% of those with mental illness who commit suicide suffer from depression.


But is that shocking to us at this point? You already told us that depression has an extremely tight link to suicide earlier in the essay. I think that this is a really good statistic that you should definitely include, but maybe restructure your essay a bit so that it flows a bit better? Maybe put this up above where you talk about depression before.

~ ~ ~

Okay! I really liked this essay! I thought you did a really good job with it and it's pretty strong. I was purposefully being harsh because I assumed it being an essay means that you are going to be turning it in for a grade, so your teacher is probably also going to notice (and possibly dock you) on the things I mentioned, so I figured I'd point them out to give you a head start on editing before you even turned it in to your teacher ;)

There were a couple of typos throughout, especially capitalizing things that don't need to be capitalized, but also one example of you writing "on" when you meant "one" so I'd definitely suggest you go through with a fine tooth comb to line edit this and brush it up a bit. Otherwise, though, I think your content was great and is a super important message that definitely needs to be shared.

If you have any questions or need any more help feel free to hit me up!

Keep writing!

~Shady 8)




manilla says...


Thanks for the review!



User avatar
6 Reviews


Points: 528
Reviews: 6

Donate
Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:09 am
View Likes
SuraikheySuraj wrote a review...



By all means of writing, it seems that you have worked hard and researched about this from bottom of your heart and this makes your article very strong and gives a positive impression on reader. However, I would like to give you some friendly suggestions. Like, use some tools of keypad to highlight most important content. Like, bold the titles, and you have dedicated each paragraph to a subtopic, make it bold too. Type references in italics etc. In this way, you will help the reader to digest your article easily and there will be more positive impact on the reader.
Thank You & Welcome





Stupidity's the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.
— William Gaddis