It has been suggested that (worldwide) three out of every
ten teenagers contemplate suicide and one in ten makes an attempt. Suicide has been a major cause of death
for those aged 10-24 for far too many years. Having said that, it is inevitable that an unknown percentage of teenage
suicides will be misclassified as open verdicts or accidental deaths. So saying all estimates are under-estimates
Girls attempt suicide at a much higher rate than boys but have a much higher failure rate. Is it claimed that more
girls attempt suicide because of mood disorders such as depression or dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression) that would
certainly explain the difference. In addition, girls are often less satisfied with themselves, their looks or their bodies, and may perceive imperfections as personal failures.
In contrast to the girls: Boys die from suicide attempts approximately
four times more than girls. This has been interpreted has boys being more prone to aggressive behaviour than girls. In keeping
with this tendency, boys tend to choose more aggressive (and therefore more lethal) means when they attempt suicide, such
as guns or hanging.
In contrast to the above American estimate of the percentage of teenagers involved in suicidal activities - is the following
Australian News report...
"MORE more than half of Australia's youth has been touched by suicide.
An alarming 57 per cent of those surveyed in the Australian Democrats' annual
poll of 15 to 20-year-olds knew a young person who had attempted or committed suicide.
Speaking about Youth Poll 2005 yesterday at St Michael's College, Democrat Senator
Natasha Stott Despoja encouraged the Federal Government to examine the survey results.
"I think with issues like suicide prevention it's incredibly important that we
talk to the young people who are affected," she said.
"You can't ignore these statistics," she said.
The survey also
found that 64 per cent of respondents rated family matters, such as divorce and separation, as the issues that concerned them
most, that 65 per cent would be discouraged from attending university if the proposed 25 per cent increase in HECS fees was
introduced, and that 60 per cent opposed mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
Senator Stott Despoja said it was clear
young people's views were often patronised, trivialised and ignored, particularly by politicians and government.
"This is a chance to give young people a say, but also to use the results to
impact on policy," she said.
"An interesting result is the increase in the number of young people who oppose mandatory
detention for asylum seekers.
"It is also clear that young people obviously care about their families, no matter how they
James Cibich and Lisa Georgiou, both 16, were two of the students who attended the release of survey results
at St Michael's yesterday.
James said the poll was an important vehicle for the opinions of youth.
Lisa said education
had contributed to 87 per cent of young people surveyed not smoking.
"I think the advertising campaigns are actually working,
although they show some pretty disturbing images," she said.
"Young people are definitely more aware of the harmful effects
of smoking and are doing it much less."
Both Year 11 students agreed that offering communication pathways for students
was vital to address the youth suicide trend highlighted in the survey.
"There is a tendency among teenagers not to talk
to anyone about these things," Mr Cibich said. "Better training of young people would be good, so that they know how to advise
friends if they come to them with a serious problem."