*Please note: The statistics and facts below have been gathered from websites who are suicide prevention advocates. The statistics provide background information for anyone interested in depression, teen or LGBT bullying, and teen or LGBT suicides. The information reflects the most up to date public statistics available, and supplement the data and sources cited in individual blog posts related to bullying and suicide. These “facts” and statistics should not be considered gospel, and any treatment or diagnosis related to depression should be left to medical and mental health professionals, starting with your family doctor.
Eradicate Bullying Now
There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as evidenced by the recent, and ongoing bullying-related LGBT suicides in the US and Canada. Parents, teachers, and students are best served when they learn about the dangers of bullying, so that they can support and help at-risk students who may be thinking about committing suicide.
Many adults view bullying as a "part of growing up," and they ignore the fact that it’s a serious problem that leads to many negative outcomes for bullying victims, including suicide. That in itself should be reason enough to take serious steps to eradicate bullying in your local school.
The Facts About Suicide
Teenhelp.com reports the following statistics:
1. Suicide is the third leading cause of death of young persons aged 15-24
2. Of the total number of suicides among teens ages 15 to 24 in 2001, 86% were male and 14% were female.
3. The great difference between male teen suicide and female teen suicide rates is because males use firearms more to commit suicide than females (who use pills more) and succeed at suicide more than females.
4. According to American Psychiatric Association, four times as many teen males succeed at killing themselves than women; however, three times as many teen females attempt suicide.
5. Teens that have attempted suicide in the past are likely to attempt suicide again; in fact, according to the National Youth Violence Prevention Center, about 1/3 of all teen suicide victims have tried to commit suicide before.
6. Gay youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.
7. Ten teenagers out of 100,000 decide to kill themselves. These numbers cannot be ignored. Educating our teens about suicide in school and at home can help reduce these numbers, while allowing teens to express their feelings and communicate their problems freely with someone can help save their lives as well.
The Facts About Bullying
At the website bullyingstatistics - they establish the following facts about bullying:
- Imbalance of power. Typically those who engage in bully-like behaviors use their strength, popularity or power to harm, control or manipulate others. They will usually target those who are weaker in size or may have a difficult time defending themselves.
- Intent to cause harm. A bully is a person who does not do things by accident. The bully intends to physically or emotionally injure a person or group of persons.
- Repetition. Typically incidents of bullying are not a one-time thing. Bullies target the same person or group over and over again.
It is important for parents to discuss the facts on bullying with their children to help teach them how to watch out for bullying and to avoid being bullied. There are several signs parents can look for when evaluating if your child is a victim of bullying.
A. Comes home with unexplained injuries or with damaged or missing clothing or other belongings
B. Has change in eating habits
C. Makes excuses not to go to school
D. Has fewer friends
E. Feels helpless
G. Acts out of character
H. Avoids certain places or playing outside alone
I. Feels like they are not good enough
J. Has trouble sleeping
K. Blames themselves for their problems
The following facts on bullies also provide information on what types of signs to look for in children who might be bullying others.
1. Becomes frequently violent
2. Has trouble controlling anger
3. Is manipulative and controlling of others and situations
4. Is quick to blame others
5. Does not accept responsibility for their actions
6. Needs to win or be the best at everything
Understanding these warning signs can help parents prevent their children from becoming bullies or help them not become a victim of a bully. Counseling or therapy are good methods in helping to treat a child who exhibits symptoms of bullying. Children who are victims may also need some kind of support or counseling to help resolve underlying issues of emotional feelings of inadequacy. Children who are confident and have higher self-esteem are less likely to fall prey to the attacks of bullying.
The Facts About Depression
The website teensuicide is a good reference for parents.
Teen depression can come on as a result of chemical changes in the brain due to stress or even to hormonal changes. No matter how teenage depression strikes, however, it is important to get help restoring the brain’s chemical balance, as prolonged depression can lead to self-destructive behaviors including risk taking, cutting, substance abuse and even suicide.
The following symptoms are cited as “signs” you should look for that could indicate clinical depression.
Symptoms of Teen Depression
There are several symptoms of teen depression. Among them are:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Losing interest in social and extracurricular activities
- Displaying a lack of energy
- Feeling tired most of the time
- Feelings of sadness for much of the time
- Significant weight fluctuations
- Sleep pattern changes
- Physical pains and aches, or sickness, even though there is nothing physically wrong
- Indifference about the future
- Uncharacteristic pessimism
- Guilty feelings
- Lowering self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts
My Closing Thoughts
When kids experience the rite of passage that we call puberty, and begin to mature physically, it can be a confusing time in a child’s life. With a bit of luck, and foresight, you’ve reaffirmed your love and commitment to your son or daughter, and communicated that no matter who they grow up to be - that your unconditional love and support will be present whether your child is straight or LGBT. By making that pronouncement, you’re providing your child with a strong foundation and an essential anchor, that instills confidence and provides the fundamental building blocks that nourish the lives of happy and well-adjusted individuals. Your child will be comfortable in most social settings, and you’ve armed them with the proper tools and the coping skills, to handle the academic rigor of a university education, while meeting the professional challenges that they will encounter at nearly every stage in their adult life. And that’s bloody brilliant.