ISSN 2330-717X

Escalating Suicide Rates Among Young People – OpEd


The advancements of the world in enhancing countries and building them stronger, is also becoming the downfall for Individuals. During the past couple of years it’s been highlighted that due to global warming, technology boosting, as well as increase rate of developments and constructions are not only becoming the reason of destroying nature but also causing health issues. Health is one of the major concerns and been a part of research community since decades and recently researchers are fond of mental health crisis. Within more than two years mental health and its well-being became the top notch priority after the increase rates of suicide among children.

Suicide is a purposely harming oneself or the act of taking one’s own life. In 2019 it was reported that almost 800,000 individuals lost their precious lives every year due to attempting suicide. According to American Foundation of Suicide Prevention almost 48, 344 Americans died in which approximately 1.4 million individuals attempted suicide, that makes suicide the 10th notable cause of death in United States. In Pakistan, around 15 – 35 precious lives are lost due to suicide each day, which is approximately as high as one person per hour. Concerns related to suicide deepen when investigators identified that young people are more likely to die due to suicide. 

Globally, the highest rate of suicide among young people are between the age group of 15 – 29, making it the second notable cause after road accidents reported by World Health Organization. Roughly only one out of 15 high school students reported suicidal attempts annually. About two out of every 53 high school students reported immediately making a suicidal ideation that was serious enough to be handled by a medical professional. In the recent report by UNICEF that New Zealand has the highest suicide rate for young people in the developing world arguably, with the prevalence of 15.6 suicides per 100, 000 individuals is half as high as the United States rate or almost five times than those of Britain. The elevation of suicidal rate among Pakistani students was the wakeup call for parents as well as teachers. Sometime after the official statement of the intermediate (higher secondary school) result obtained, four students committed suicide within a period of several days in Chitral, a remote district of KPK. The four students reportedly committed suicide for not being able to obtain the scores, as per the news, they or their parents were hoping for. 

Young generation is considered as a time period of drastic changes in which individuals are struggling to find one-self. Within this time frame tremendous growth and potential navigate new millstones in preparation for adult life, which is difficult to handle by many individuals. Such changes may lead to multiple mental health issues that can link with the increase risk of suicide among young people. With a public mental health standpoint, suicide in young people is a crucial concern to be tackled. Suicide under the age of 5 is hard to identify. Most research (including this mini review) on teenage suicide applies to school-age children (7–12 years) and teenagers (13–20 years). By default, these young generations are susceptible to mental health issues, particularly during puberty. The serious psychological condition, commonly depression, is found in numerous of children and young people who often attempt suicide. Suicide attempts are frequently impulsive throughout youngsters. They can be related to feelings of helplessness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, or concentration as well as behavioral problems concerns. Suicide among young individuals is considerably related to the escape from their problems. 

In order to overcome the escalating suicidal ideation among young people, around the globe government and non-governmental agencies developed prevention strategies. Prevention strategies include reduction of means, effective media coverage, keeping tracks of children in educational institutions as well as at home, and conducting programs related to prevention against suicide among young generation. In Pakistan, Umang Hotline Pakistan, Open Counseling, Pakistan Suicide Helpline, Rozan Counseling Helpline, and many other help-lines are introduced for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and behavioral issues. Not only help-lines but many social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and numerous other interactive media sites are promoting information regarding suicide, risk factors, treatment and preventive measurements to help young people in this regards. 

Unfortunately, all these preventive measures and strategies are unable to help reduce suicide among young generation. It is essential that government should work more on effective preventive measurements against suicide among young generation and put this crucial matter on high priories. As the young generation is the future and their health both physical and mental is as important as any other country proceedings. Furthermore, not just government but as a parent, teacher, or any other wise individual, it should be made a priority to encourage healthy life structure and enforce mental health well-being for young generation for the sake of saving precious lives.

*Asra Ayaz Ansari, MS Health Care Management, Riphah International University, Islamabad

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