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Lives cut short

by ALISON LEVIER Section Editor

In the United States, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15-24. It is the 11th leading cause of death for people aged 10 and older. Teen suicide in America, as suggested by the most recent study done in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, increased eight percent from 2003 to 2004. That was the highest increase rate in 15 years as of 2007, but there is no telling what it is now. A study in 1989 showed that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) youth are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth. Teen suicide is likely caused from a mixture of factors, not just one factor. Depression is the most common factor among suicidal individuals. Seventy-five percent of teens that attempt suicide are depressed. Other causes include eating disorders, trauma, abuse, loneliness, insecurities, and mental disorders such as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Eating disorders have the highest suicide rate of any mental disorder. Domestic disagreements can also cause attempts at suicide or suicidal behavior, and one study showed that 90 percent of suicidal teens believed that their families did not understand them. Although most do not realize, suicidal individuals will give small hints as to their intentions to end their life. Some of these include withdrawal from activities, loss of appetite, lack of energy, etc. It seems that there is a recent spark of teen suicide, or rather, a more publicized reaction to the action of adolescents taking their own lives. With the recent outbreak of anti-bullying campaigns, there are more media reports of teen suicide. Most recently is the death of Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian girl who was essentially bullied to death. Todd’s death triggered an intense reaction from the media, with reports from almost every large television news network, as well as lots of buzz on social media. Todd continues to receive hate, with people editing her photos to make them say nasty things. “They need to leave this girl alone. She’s dead and they’re still bullying her. Does it ever stop?” said sophomore Anne Ballman. Todd’s popularity with the media has also sparked outcry from many people, who believe that Todd should not be the only deceased-by-suicide teen that has people caring. This is not entirely true, considering there have been other recent instances where teen suicide cases have created buzz. On May 2, 2011, a 14-year-old boy named Jamey Rodemeyer made a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign, in which he explained his struggles with bisexuality and encouraged other young people to keep their chins up because it does get better. On September 18, 2011, Rodemeyer was found dead by an apparent suicide. Rodemeyer, a huge Lady Gaga fan, addressed his last tweet to the star, saying “bye mother monster, thank you for all you have done, paws up forever.” Gaga heard about the tragedy, and paid special tribute to him at one of her concerts with an acoustic version of her hit “Hair”. “Bullying is for losers,” Gaga said during her performance dedicated to Rodemeyer.

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