THE MEDIA AND YOUNG PERSON SUICIDE

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises that suicide rates for young girls and women have continued to rise in the U.S. at a faster pace than for the same aged males; but males between the ages of 10-24 who commit suicide still outnumber women by three times. But the female increase has been steadier. The trends for how young women commit suicide has changed in troubling ways, including the increased use of suffocation. The change in methods increases the importance of “early prevention strategies to reduce onset of suicidal thoughts in young persons and to help identify persons who are contemplating suicide or who at greater risk for suicide”, the CDC says.

THE WAY THE MEDIA, INCLUDING BLOGGERS, REPORT ON SUICIDE IS IMPORTANT

Studies have consistently shown that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. Some suicide experts believe that sensational headlines or “prominent placement” (e.g. “Kurt Cobain Used Shotgun to Commit Suicide”), can add to the problem. They would suggest a headline such as “Kurt Cobain Dead at 27”.

The rate for suicide for young girls has risen to 3.4 per 100,000, and for young males it is 11.9 per 100,000. The total number of suicide deaths for younger people in the U.S. was approximately 5,264 in 2013.

COMMENT: We want to emphasize how everyone’s life is important. This is true about you even when you may feel so much anxiety or fear about something or somebody that you feel you cannot cope with life. The ending of a relationship, or the stress of not having one, or the perceived inability to find someone to love, often is overwhelming. Young people can be very cruel to others and social status does mean almost everything to many people. What you need to remember is that time is a great healer and the way you feel today will change in the future. So many people who went through periods in their lives where it seemed so hard to fit in and their isolation set in, have since learned that the object of their affections were only symbolic in the sense that they found a real person to love later. Of course, that is easy for us to say and much harder for the person going through anxiety and depression to realize that the issue is often a temporary one. That is why we encourage you to talk about your feelings with someone you truly trust and always remember that you are special and things WILL get better.

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