9 Challenges Our Students Face in School Today Part VII: Suicide
One challenge our students face today in school that is not normally discussed is the problem of child and teen suicide. Although students may experience internal struggles they can also be greatly affected by the loss of friends or peers who have committed suicide. This article discusses the importance acknowledging signs of suicide in students.
Suicide is a problem few feel comfortable talking about, and even fewer understand. While suicide rates have decreased overall since the 1980s, suicide rates for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 have actually tripled. In fact, suicide is the third most common cause of death for adolescents. Suicide methods and success rates vary between genders and ethnic and racial groups. Females are more likely to attempt suicide, but males are more likely to succeed. Native Americans have the highest suicide rate of all racial and ethnic groups. Victims of bullying and abuse, and overachievers in school are at high risk of suicide.
It’s difficult for teachers to spot a potential suicide, but understanding that depression generally precedes a suicide attempt is a good place to start. Keep an eye out for and on students suffering from depression. Falling grades, decreased attendance, sadness, frequent crying, low energy, and major changes in sleeping and eating habits are also signs of potential suicide attempts.
It is important to be aware of suicidal signs because you may be the only one that can save or prevent a student from taking their life. When suicide occurs in schools take time to talk and be supportive of your students. This may be a difficult topic to discuss but it is necessary to take time for your students. Continue to read the other parts of this series to learn more about the challenges students face today.