Sample Essay On Native Teen Suicide Crisis

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Suicide, Teenagers, Depression, Alcoholism, Youth, Psychology, America, Health

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/05

It is shocking that your teen son or daughter could be contemplating to commit suicide. As a society it is essential to familiarized ourselves with the challenges the teens are facing in life since the next victim could your be teen brother, sister, niece or nephew. According to various reports and research by experts, it has been established that 8% of teens attempts to commit suicide annually in the United State (Joshi et al., 2015). Sadly, the rates at which teens commit suicide keep on increasing with time. Statistics show that native youths are three to ten times more likely to commit suicide as compared to other youth (Tempus, 2010). Suicide is more prevalence with the native communities because of the belief that it serves as a solution in times of severe suffering and burden (Woodard, 2012). “Higher rates of suicide have long been tied to alcoholism and drug use, depression and poverty that are prevalent in many American Indian communities” (Tempus, 2010). Furthermore, “According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the combination of depression and alcoholism causes more than 75 percent of all suicides” (Iliades, 2015). The rates at which these suicides take place are quite alarming and course for concern; there is need to address this issue starting with alcohol abuse and depression to save the lives of these native teens. It’s essential for parents and guardian to identify with their children and try to know the challenges they are facing and how they could be helped. This is a disaster which needs to be addressed urgently if we need to save the future of the next generation.


Firstly, “Alcohol use among adolescents, especially the initiation of use in the pre-teen, is an important risk factor for both suicide ideation and suicide attempts in girls and boys” (McLoughlin et al., 2015). Studies carried out on Native American teens indicate that 71% agreed that at some point in their life they had used alcohol (Woodard, 2012). To confirm this, hospitals have records of cases of young drunk children. This is alarming because “It has been demonstrated that youth (age 13) who reported an episode of heavy episodic drinking (HED) during the past year were found to be twice more likely to report a suicide attempt” (McLoughlin et al., 2015). Studies have also shown that alcohol drinking is very common among adolescents (U.S annual survey of youth) and has been known to be the major cause of injury and death among the people who are under the age of 21 years.
Secondly, Alcohol use often leads to mental health disorders such as apathy, depression and many other psychological problems (Capuzzi et al., 2013). These mental health problems are more common in teenagers who take alcohol than those who do not consume alcohol, since, their memories are interfered with. Those who use alcohol are more exposed to thoughts of attempting to commit suicide and in extreme cases they finally commit suicide (Iliades, 2015). Research also shows that when young children and youth start taking alcohol at the early stages of their development, they increase their likelihood of getting involved in dangerous behaviors which could put their life at risk.


On the other hand, Depression occurs due to some imbalance of some chemicals in the brain. Statistics show that most suicide attempts and suicide deaths among the teens are as a result of depression (Iliades, 2015). Although not all teens that are depressed commit suicide, depression if left untreated increases the risk of committing suicide (King et al., 2013). Research also shows that 90% of people who commit suicide had depression or other mental disorder that is diagnosable. The environments in which the teen are located are the major contributor to the depression the teenagers are experiencing. The harsh conditions such as poor housing, low access to quality health care, unemployment and low access to social amenities have been established to be the major cause of depression (King et al., 2013). The poor standards of living push teens to feel worthless and hopeless. Hence, they find there is no reason to live and they no longer feel good about themselves in general. As result, Suicide is seen as the only remedy to their misery in life.
Furthermore, most native teens face many social challenges such as bullying, poverty and the fact that a majority of them are raised by their grandparents with their parents not being around, all this end up making the teen depressed since they don’t have anyone to tell or share their problems (Woodard, 2012). Additionally, some native teens commit suicide either because one has lost his or her family member or a friend through suicide. The trauma associated with losing someone close to you coupled with poverty and unemployment in the reservations finally causes a feeling of hopelessness and unworthiness (Tempus, 2010). When a person reaches the stage of hopelessness and unworthiness, depression starts taking a toll on a person’s life and thinking capacity. This makes the youth to end their lives to escape from their problems by committing suicide.


However, some experts oppose the notion that alcohol and depression are the main causes of the suicide. Some believe a person of the right mind cannot commit suicide due to the problems they are facing in life (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Thus, mental disorder is considered as the main cause of suicide among the teens. Metal disorder does not give the teen the chance to think or reason before he/she commit suicide. A person with an unstable mind has no capacity to think. However, a depressed or drunk person has a chance to think of the consequences of their actions since their mind still thinking clearly.

Prevention for all people

Notably, Studies show that in order for various suicide prevention programs to be more effective and successful, they should address social problems, mental and physical problems the teen are facing (Joshi et al., 2015). Suicide cases can be prevented or reduced significantly by identifying and treating mental illness, limiting access to firearms by young people as well as preventing substance abuse by youth, improving the standards of living and having a good relationship with our teenagers in the society (CDC, 2015). Additionally, developing a clear safe guideline for handling medications, prescribing, dispensing of medications to suicidal persons by physicians and other medical personnel should be handled with care (Capuzzi et al 2013).
Furthermore, suicides can be prevented by building social support networks to help persons who are suicidal (Landry, 2015). This social support networks may include family, friends and religious/ spiritual leaders. The social network will help the suicidal person avoid some factors that increase the risk of committing suicide e.g. alcohol or substance abuse by providing a means through which suicidal individuals can communicate in times of despair about their feelings.

Prevention for native Indians

Similarly, “Suicide among Native American youth is 9 to 19 times as frequent as among other youths” (Woodard, 2012). For native Indians, the various causes for suicide are not quite clear but experts point out some of the risk factors such as poverty, mental health disorders e.g. depression as well as unemployment (RT, 2010). In an effort to prevent more suicides being committed, the New Mexico’s Legislature has allocated sufficient funding to various intervention programs that focus at preventing suicides committed by Native Americans (Woodard, 2012). It is also important to note that the various interventions being developed are unique and tailored to suit the needs of native communities. Furthermore, these interventions programs seek to provide accessible and readily available health services that specialize in behavioral disorders so as to treat mental illness e.g. depression before they get to suicidal point.
In addition to the health care interventions, Spiritual and Cultural identification are used effectively to reduce and prevent suicides among the native Indians (Landry, 2015). Culture creates a sense of belonging and increases self-esteem, various researches shows that people or rather members of a given community following a traditional mode of life have greater level of happiness and in some cases use of religion instead of alcohol to cope with stress is quite effective (Capuzzi et al 2013). Moreover, avenues for family connectedness are emphasized to facilitate problem discussing freely with family members and friends so as to reduce cases of depression.
In conclusion, it is evident that depression and alcohol are the leading risk factors for suicide among the American teens. As noted, alcohol consumption causes impairment in judgment, disappearance of sober inhibitions which then make individual do things which could endanger their life and it causes an increase in depression. Alcoholism and depression can be treated by taking antidepressant medications. However, it is advisable to seek professional help early enough from psychiatrists. Therefore, to prevent this suicide menace and stigma from escalating even further, it’s high time the society, government and families to connect with the teens to address the problems they are facing and help them overcome the challenges exposed to the teenagers at various stages of their life.

Works Cited

Alyssa Landry. "Spate of Youth Suicides Shake Pine Ridge Reservation -"Indian Country Today Media N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
King, Cheryl A., Cynthia Ewell Foster, and Kelly M. Rogalski. Teen Suicide Risk: A Practitioner Guide to Screening, Assessment, and Management. Guilford Press, 2013.,+Cheryl+A.,+Cynthia+Ewell+Foster,+and+Kelly+M.+Rogalski.+Teen+Suicide+Risk:+A+Practitioner+Guide+to+Screening,+Assessment,+and+Management.+Guilford+Press,+2013.&ots=I78b1FZn6x&sig=XmIUg9ed9hxljxk3rC9geatAZtM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=King%2C%20Cheryl%20A.%2C%20Cynthia%20Ewell%20Foster%2C%20and%20Kelly%20M.%20Rogalski.%20Teen%20Suicide%20Risk%3A%20A%20Practitioner%20Guide%20to%20Screening%2C%20Assessment%2C%20and%20Management.%20Guilford%20Press%2C%202013.&f=false
Joshi, Shashank V., et al. "School-Based Suicide Prevention: Content, Process, and the Role of Trusted Adults and Peers." Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America 24.2 (2015): 353-370.
Capuzzi, Dave, and Larry Golden. Preventing adolescent suicide. Routledge, 2013.,+Dave,+and+Larry+Golden.+Preventing+adolescent+suicide.+Routledge,+2013.&ots=uQnB8PszxV&sig=JDWIWPkanizQkDk787aRfWFOzyA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
McLoughlin, Aoibheann B., Madelyn S. Gould, and Kevin M. Malone. "Global trends in teenage suicide: 2003-2014." QJM (2015): hcv026.
CDC. "Youth Suicide|Suicide Prevention|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
Chris Iliades, and Cynthia Haines. "Overcoming Depression and Alcoholism - Depression Center." N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
Jennifer Guerra. "The Devastating Rate of Suicide Among American Indian Teens." State of Opportunity. N.p., 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
RT. "Teen Suicide a Fact of Life on Native American Reservations — RT USA." N.p., 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
Stephanie Woodard. "American Indian Youth in Crisis: Tribes Grapple With a Suicide Emergency -" Indian Country Today Media N.p., 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
Stephanie Woodard. "Suicide is Epidemic for American Indian Youth: What More Can Be Done? - Investigations." NBC News. N.p., 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
Allie Tempus. "A Tribal Tragedy: High Native American Suicide Rates Persist." N.p., 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2015. <>.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. "NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness." NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | NAMI: The National Alliance on Mental Illness. N.p., 2015. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. <>.

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