Adolescence has always been rocky, but statistics from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggest it’s riskier than ever. A recent survey found an increase in suicidal thoughts and behaviors among high school students in 2019, the year before the pandemic, and Psychology Today says the U.S. is facing a teen suicide pandemic. Suicide itself is not a mental illness, but conditions like addiction and depression play a big role. What many people don’t realize is that substance abuse is often a contributor to suicidal ideation, and this is true for those in Jersey City, NJ as well.
In the U.S., the number of suicide deaths each year is roughly the same as losing all the students in one big high school. The CDC says almost 1 in 5 American teens have seriously thought about attempting suicide. In a school with 500 students, that means around 100 teens have thought of hurting themselves. In a college lecture hall, 7 in 50 students have considered suicide. (The CDC defines adolescence as the years between 10 and 19.)
Young people in Jersey City who have mental disorders or gender identity issues are more likely to think of suicide. Issues like race and bullying add to existing teen concerns, and COVID-19 has only made the threat more severe. A survey released by Parents Together says 7 in 10 kids say they feel sad because of coronavirus, and almost half of the parents report their kids are experiencing mental distress. Other stressors include divorce, moving, separation from parents, and financial problems.
These factors increase risk:
Psychological disorders, such as depression, substance use disorder, or bipolar disorder
Family history of depression or suicide
Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
Isolation and lack of support
Struggling with sexuality in an unsupported setting
Feelings of hopelessness, irritability, or anger
Previous suicide attempt
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