Teen Suicide: The Government's Role

1142 Words 5 Pages
Teen Suicide: The Government’s Role Suicide is a familiar cause of death in the United States for all ages. Most disturbing, however, is the prevalence of teenage suicide. In 2013, teenage suicide was the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24 in the United States (“State Laws on Suicide” 1). One reason teen suicide rates are high in the United States is because of the lack of government-mandated suicide prevention education for students and school personnel. Factors are the lack of treatment options for mentally ill teens and ineffective screenings and assessments for teens in contact with the juvenile justice system. Suicide prevention in the United States is a relatively new thing. The first suicide prevention center opened in Los …show more content…
Student education is important because teens have the most connection with each other on a day-to-day basis and are the most likely to be present when peers are exhibiting suicidal signs. However, as of 2015, only 16% of states require suicide prevention education for students (“State Laws: Suicide Prevention Education”). This number is disturbingly low considering states with mandatory suicide prevention education for students have lower than average suicide rates for ages 15-24 (MacIntosh). Students are not able to recognize suicidal signs in their peers if they do not receive the training on what to look for. Students have the right to know ways they can help their friends and peers. Schools often teach students suicidal signs in their peers after a public teen suicide occurs. Students are then left wondering why they did not recognize the signs they now know. Educating students on suicidal red flags allows them to recognize the signs early and seek out help. Sometimes the help they may seek is for themselves. Suicide education for students also provides a gateway for students, who may have suicidal thoughts, to get help when they need it. The correlation between suicide rates and student education shows that suicide rates could be lower if there were consistent state and federally mandated suicide prevention programs. Government-mandated student …show more content…
Only 18% of states require annual suicide prevention training for school personnel, another 30% require non-annual training, while 28% simply encourage training (“State Laws: Suicide Prevention Training”). Aside from their homes, teens spend most of their time at school among teachers and other school personnel. Personnel, therefore, should have training on the warning signs for suicide. When states do not require training, teachers are often oblivious to suicidal signs in their students. Even non-annual training is not enough because new research and prevention methods come out yearly. Government-mandated annual suicide prevention training for personnel will help bring down the teen suicide rate. Some people may argue that suicide is a personal problem and has no place in government institutions such as schools. Yes, the discussion of suicide is personal and brings pain to many scarred by attempts or left behind after a loved one commits suicide. This pain is the reason why schools need suicide prevention education. The more education people receive, the more they can help those close to them not harm themselves. Government-mandated suicide prevention education is the only way to ensure that every student and educational personnel receives

Related Documents

Related Topics