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This essay will explain a
contemporary issue regarding mental health and suicide in young people. It will
also be discussing concepts and theories of childcare and childhood, youth,
community or family using current issues as a medium.


According to The National Health
Service (2015), there may not be one cause as to why an individual may want to
take their own life, however, many factors can influence their decision. Suicide
is the act of purposely ending your own life. Individuals who have suicidal thoughts,
feel as though committing suicide is a way to escape the pain. An individual
with a mental health issue, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are more
prone to have suicidal thoughts than someone who does not suffer from a mental
health condition, due to being a lot more vulnerable. Over 90% of people who
die by suicide have depression or another mental health condition (WebMD,
2005-2017). Suicide can happen to individuals of all ages, involving young
people. Middle-aged and late-middle ages have the highest suicide rate (NHS,
2015).  In regards to mental health issues and suicide, there has
always been contemporary issues. There have always been a social issue, both
stigma against mental health issues and shame in relation to suicide.

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The Adolescent is at risk because of
the stress of exams, bullying in schools and trying to ‘fit in’, there are many
factors as to why a young individual may feel suicidal. 20%-45% of older adolescents
had suicidal thoughts at some time in their life (Hawton, 2005). Worldwide
rates of suicide are anticipated to rise over the next ten years (World Health
Organization, 2016). The statistics show that suicide in young people is a
problem and will remain a problem over the next ten years if something is not
changed or implemented and the figures will only rise. Suicides are not inevitable.
Communities, services, individuals, and society as a whole can help to prevent


There are many risk factors that are
relevant to suicide and contribute as to why suicide is a contemporary issue,
such as Biological, Psychological and Environmental. Being young as a whole is
seen as a risk factor, the risk increases between the ages 15-35. If individual’s
families have a history of suicide, problems with it are more likely to arise
within the individual. Families who may experience bereavement through a suicide
are at increased risk of mental health problems and suicide themselves
(HMGovernment, 2012).


Depending on the individuals
upbringing will depend on how they deal with certain situations and how people
react. Individuals who may self-harm are at increased risk of suicide. A
significant life event, which may have had a big impact on individual’s lives
may push them towards suicide, these events may involve failing exams and
changing schools. These events can equal distress, which may be seen as a
trigger for suicidal thoughts.


Personality traits are also seen as
a psychological risk factor. Social-perfectionism and self-criticism will also
make an individual become a higher risk (Samaritans, 2012). Suicide is more
common if individuals are unemployed, this could be because they have financial
worries or the stress of not earning money to support their families and those
with lower socio-economic status’. Those who have a family background which is
disrupted, such as violent abuse in the home or parents who have committed or
attempted suicide are more at risk because they have been exposed to these
issues. Suicidal young males are more prone to have a father who is absent and
not a part of their lives (Samaritans, 2012).

The help that is available includes Acute A Units and Minor Injury
Units, this type of help is classed as immediate care/treatment. Long-term
support involves focusing on the cause of the distress and breaking stages down
to find out the route of the problem. Medication such as, Lithium and Clozapine
could possibly have certain anti-suicidal properties (Cipriani et al., 2005;
Meltzer et al., 2003) however specific anti-depressants could be related to the
rise of suicidal behaviour mainly in young people (Barbui et al., 2009; Fergusson et
al., 2005). YoungMinds is the
United Kingdom’s leading charity advocating the well-being and mental health of
young people. Their goals are to advertise good, positive mental health to more
children and young people, than ever before and foster innovation to meet the
needs of children and young people who are excluded and vulnerable (YoungMinds,

School’s highlighting issues, such as body image,
bullying and self-esteem will, therefore, build resilience and add to suicide
prevention of children and young people. School’s should be more aware of those
individuals who have mental health illnesses/issues, those who are involved in
The Criminal Justice System and survivors of abuse. The staff working within
schools who are working with the high-risk groups should receive specific which
will lead to early detection. Improvement of referral pathways from A&E and
primary care for those who are self-harming needs to be made, this would make a
huge difference to the decrease in suicide rates.

School-based approaches focusing on the adolescent
suicide prevention are needed, however, an issue with this, maybe there is not
enough funding to be able to train staff with the relevant training within
schools and across health and social care services. There needs to be more
multi-agency working within health services, education, and social care. There
needs to be a development of interventions which will reduce the embarrassment
and stigma regarding help-seeking. There also needs to be an improvement of
access to treatment.

In a bid to face the public health problem of suicide,
the World Health Organisation published ‘Preventing Suicide: A Global
Imperative’ (2014), which was a step towards decreasing suicide rates and a
report which focused on suicide prevention. The global target is to decrease
suicide rates by 10% by 2020 across all age groups (World Health Organisation:
Mental Action Plan, 2013-2020). For the adolescent, suicide remains to be a
leading cause of mortality worldwide and continues to be a major public health

Research suggests, suicide is not
common in children and young people. Data shows, the occurrence is likely to be
misjudged in this age group due to the reluctance of coroners to give the
verdict of suicide (Hawton K, Saunders K and O’Connor R, 2012).


There has been an increased use of
social media, especially with young people, which is very much linked to
suicide/suicidal thoughts. Social media allows individuals to connect and
communicate with each other. The most used and popular social media platforms
that young people may use are Instagram and Snapchat. Instagram was founded in
2010 and Snapchat was founded in 2011 (The Telegraph, 2017). A survey conducted during 2014 and 2015
showed that 94% of teenagers use social media daily and 71% of teens say they
use more than one social media site (GOV- Office of Adolescent Health, 2016).


media can have dangerous effects, negatives, and positives. A survey conducted by
Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters’ and Headmistress’ Conference (HMC) which
was carried out in September 2017 and most of the responses came from students
in year nine, ten and eleven, firstly, showed 57 percent of students had encountered
abusive comments online, secondly, 56 percent declared to being on the edge of
addiction and lastly 52 percent claimed social media made them feel not as
confident about their appearance and how fascinating their life is (The
Guardian, 2017).


media is an effective way for young people and others to be heard, it can also
help individuals explore new ideas, in addition to building resilience,
however, it is argued that it is changing our society negatively. As an
example, Instagram and Snapchat give us the opportunity to only show what
individual’s want, which sometimes is a filtered sense of reality, consequently
they will start comparing their life to others, as a result of this low-self
may be affected. 60 percent, from the survey previously
mentioned, believed peers showed a “fake version” of themselves on social media
platforms, in spite of that, 85 percent of students questioned denied they were
guilty of that themselves (The Guardian, 2017).


individuals who are most affected by the increased use of social media are
those who suffer from low-self esteem, the vulnerable and those who may fall
into lower socio-economic groups. Clarissa Silva, a behaviour scientist carried
out in-depth interviews with young people and found out, 60 percent of
individuals using social media platforms stated that it has impacted their
self-esteem in a negative way. Self-esteem remains to deteriorate during
adolescence, due to body issues, which may be linked to puberty.


the fact, girls and boys report alike levels of self-esteem through childhood,
the gap widens by the time they hit adolescence, in the fact that, boys have a
higher self-esteem level than girls. Young girls may have a lower self-esteem
level because they have a certain perception of how they should look, through
editing photographs and the use of airbrushing models in magazines (Robins et
al., 2002). Social platform sites assist individuals to make comparisons which
increases their psychological distress, which therefore results in lower
self-esteem (Chen & Lee, 2013).


media has always had a very powerful impact on the self-esteem of individuals,
especially with young people and the adolescent. People will always make
comparisons to others lives’ and the drastic growth of social media will not
help to minimize this. Teachers within schools should guide students, to be
able to ensure they have a great understanding of self-esteem and
self-confidence. Parents have a role to play, within the home parents need to
restrict the use of social media platforms their children are using, to
minimize those negative effects. Campaigns also need to be put in order to
elevate the confidence of students.


are a number of theories that help to understand why suicide and mental health
occurs, such as The Theory of Self Concept and Self-esteem (Carl Rogers,
1902-1987) and The Interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviour (Thomas
Joiner, 2005).


Theory of Self Concept and Self-esteem was created by Carl Rogers (1902-1987).
He was in agreement with the main beliefs of Abraham Maslow another humanistic
psychologist. He stated that for an individual to grow and evolve they need an environment
that supplies them with self-disclosure, acceptance, and empathy. Without these
traits, relationships will not thrive as they should. Roger’s acknowledgment was
that every individual is able to attain their wishes, aspirations, and goals
during their lifetime. When this happens to individuals, self-actualization
will occur.


 An individual who would go through the process
of self-actualization would be classed as a fully functioning person (Rogers,
1961). Consequently, an individual’s subjective experiences will no matter
what, change and grow over time. Traumatic event’s, through childhood, such as
a low self-concept and issues with depression, will come with consequences
later in their life. Ensuring there are positive ways in which will help
children cope with the stress is vital for their education and throughout their
adolescent stage. They are able to learn coping strategies early on, therefore
meaning they are able to act as a fully functioning person, meaning they may be
able to face further issues head-on with new concepts.


Interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behaviour created by Thomas
Joiner (2005) believes that an individual will not die unless they have the
idea and the ability to do so. The theory is split into two main psychological
states, perceived burdensomeness and a feeling of low belongingness. When an
individual feel’s as though they are a burden to society, family, or friends,
it gives them the idea that their death will mean more to them, than their
living existence. The theory explains that fearlessness towards pain and
self-harm may be learnt over a period of time (NHS, 2015).



theory brings to mind that doctors need to have direct contact with their
patients, so their levels of burdensomeness, belongingness and previous suicide
attempts can be controlled and managed. Rather than the Government focusing on
downstream approaches, such as adverts, upstream approaches need to be given a
lot more attention, for the government to be able to question whether the
problems are becoming fixed and what are the causes, to begin with.







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