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Mental Health: Adolescent Suicide

Temitope Olawale

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Chamberlain College of Nursing

NR-222: Health and Wellness

Fall B, 2017


Mental Health: Adolescent Suicide among Teenagers


Suicide among young people continues to be a severe problem. The majority of adolescents who attempted suicide have a serious mental health disorder, especially depression. Nowadays, suicide attempts are impulsive among adolescents but was not over the years, and usually associated with feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, or problems with attention and hyperactivity. According to Healthy People 2020, mental health can be improved by preventing psychiatric disorders, promote mental health, and to use the appropriate and quality mental health care (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion ODPHP, 2017). In this paper, the strategies to prevent the cause of mental disorders among American teenagers between the ages of 18 to 25 will be highlighted; with emphasis placed on the leading cause of suicide.

Depression and Suicide among American Teenagers

Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with characteristics like physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompanied this stage of life. Academic, social, or family expectations can also create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to profound disappointment. When things go wrong at school or home, unaccepted behavior started to kick in, and teens now feel like life has not been just to them. It becomes aggravated when they stressed out, received conflicting messages from parents, friends, and society. Today’s adolescents see more of what life has to offer, both good and bad, on television, at schools, in magazines, and on the internet. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States (Suicide statistics, 2015). This brings about the mind boggling question of why?

First, it is the concept of individuals. Adolescence marks the time of the bridge between childhood and adulthood. At this time, they want to define self-identity, being independent of parents or societal upbringing which brings social conflict and many times internal conflict. If conflict not managed well, it leads to distress because they tend to ‘solve’ their problem on their own, without utilizing available resources. This pent-up need for marrying their old self with their new self, and with society’s norm, is a propellant for depression, and maybe suicide (Soller, 2014).  As much as self-identity plays an essential role in why teenagers take to suicide, especially when the whole world is ahead of them, romantic involvement is also known as the hallmark of adolescence also plays a significant role in teenage death (Soller, 2014). At this time, many teenagers begin to ‘experiment,’ get involved and consequentially get caught in the web of frustration, heartbreaks, and the emotional ups and downs that comes with relationships and sexual behaviors.

 According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the second leading cause of death for 15- to 25-year-olds, and it remains a problem among youth and young adults, and overall rates of mortality due to suicide continue highest among persons aged 65 and older. Also, in any given year, an estimated 18.1% (43.6 millions) of U.S. adults ages 18 years or higher suffered from any mental illness, and 4.2% (9.8 million) suffered from a severely debilitating psychological disease (CDC, 2015). Moreover, in 2013, females had a lower suicide rate than males. The rate for males was more than 3.5 times the rate for females. The Major Depressive Episode (MDE) between 2008 and 2015 has the proportion of adolescents aged 12-17 years who had it in the past 12 months increased by 50.6% from 8.3% to 12.5% (CDC,2015).



According to Healthy People 2020, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health (CAIH) developed the most successful interventions of the Empowering Our Spirits initiative which has been a New Hope and the Re-Embracing Life projects. The home-based intervention that focuses on youth aged 10 to 19 who have made a suicide attempt. The program uses bilingual community mental health workers trained by CAIH staff to help youth and their families. The community mental health workers were trained separately, where some act as case managers, patient advocates, and family educators for the youth and their families. They assist with the logistic issues, such as providing transportation to appointments and helping youth with their outpatient care plan (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion ODPHP, 2017).


Many studies have shown why there is a high rate of suicide among teenagers. This paper is no exception. Teenage suicide usually comes from a fountain of grave depression characterized by cultural stigma and pressure.  In understanding reasons for adolescent suicide; such as beginning sexual relationships and engaging in rebellious behaviors to imprint their self-identity; will help lead in the appropriate direction of achieving the objective of Healthy people 2020 of drastically lessening the suicide rate among teenagers.










Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2017). Mental health and mental disorder.

In Healthy People 2020. Retrieved from

Soller, B. (2014). Caught in a Bad Romance: Adolescent Romantic Relationships and     

      Mental Health.  American Sociological Association.  Retrieved from

Suicide Trends Among Persons Aged 10-25 Year- the United States, 1994-2012.

     (2015, March 06). Retrieved November 27, 2017, from

Suicide statistics. (2015). American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Retrieved





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