Suicide - A Social Issue Facing Middle and High School Youth Today

Suicides among young people is a serious problem. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children, adolescents and young adults aged 15-24 years old. Since the beginning of COVID suicide has increased in at-risk teens and young adults.  

The middle and high schoolers who attempt suicide have mental health issues such as depression.

Suicide can be linked to self-doubt, stress, uncertainty in their lives, disappointment, angry feelings, low self-esteem, bullying, feelings of hopelessness, access to and understanding the danger of firearms.

It is important in working with middle and high school aged youth that there are ways to openly communicate to them regarding the above issues.

The ARISE life skills curriculum for suicide prevention engage the youth in interactive group discussions where everyone’s opinion is appreciated. The ARISE life skills instructor training stresses the importance of group discussions where everyone learns from one another in a positive and encouraging environment. Teens and adolescents often feel uncomfortable talking about suicide. However, asking them whether they feel sad, lonely, depressed can be very helpful. It makes the youth feel that someone cares. It gives them an opportunity to share issues that bother them. If an instructor gains information from these discussions that lead them to believe the youth has suicidal thoughts, you can speak to your supervisor about getting help by a trained mental health professional for that youth.  

According to John Hopkins Medicine a teen's risk for suicide varies with age, gender, and cultural and social influence. The following are risk factors for suicide:

  • One or more mental or substance abuse problems
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Undesirable life events or recent losses, such as the death of a parent
  • Family history of mental or substance abuse problems
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical, sexual, or verbal or emotional abuse
  • Past suicide attempt
  • Gun in the home
  • Imprisonment
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, such as from family or peers, in the news, or in fiction stories
If you are working with youth at-risk of suicide or mental health issues look at the ARISE Mental and Physical Health for Teens and Young Adults: