by ALCAP | Monday, May 2, 2016
In the past two years I have spoken throughout our geographical area about the crisis of teenage suicide and its national impact upon the present generation and the ability to cope with the immediate demands of our culture.
First of all, let’s explore the kind of issues involved in this expansive discussion. In the next hour, following your reading of this material 338 teenagers will attempt to take their lives, if national statistics are valid. These calculations come from the National Youth Suicide Prevention Center in Washington, D.C., which is government-sponsored. They are empirical results of work done by Dr. Seymour Peden, professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University.
Three million teenagers attempted suicide in 2014. The National Institute of Mental Health projects that number will be higher in 2015 if current trends continue. Our nation’s focus is presently centered on this pervasive problem. Tragedies abound in our major cities and remote rural areas, but we are just entering the peak months of teenage suicide. These are April and May, so we are on the edge of demise in these destructive happenings in America.
In 2014, 8,000 adolescents died. In a recent conversation with a person at the National Institute of Mental Health, I was informed that if current trends continue, teenage suicide could surpass accidental deaths related to alcoholism and drug abuse and become the number one cause of death among our teenagers. Among adults in the last five years, the suicide rate has decreased. Among teenagers, it has increased from the fifth leading cause of death to the number one cause of premature death in the United States. So the catastrophic rush to death continues to grow beyond belief.
In the last seven years in the area of Alabama where I reside, I have seen teenagers, through surveys, studies and questionnaires; with individuals with whom I have counseled; and when speaking in Kentucky and Tennessee and I was amazed at the responses to some of their concerns. When I asked young people, 12-14 years of age, “What do you fear?” they spoke of domestic breakups, nuclear war, cancer, financial failure in U.S. economy and more. If I had been asked that question at 12-14 years of age I would have been concerned about my English teacher, the removal of the Lone Ranger from television and that the football season would end. Teenagers today are much more globally oriented.
We have major issues in America today. Teenage suicide is paramount, but I believe that teenage suicide; teenage alcoholism; teenage promiscuity; teenage eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia; and teenage runaways are symptoms of an even more serious problem. This is the essence of what I want to communicate in my blog for the next few weeks.