Social media gets much of blame for rise in the youth suicide rate

Special to the Banner
Posted 8/5/17

Social media is getting much of the blame for the alarming escalation in suicides and attempted suicides among youth.

According to Tonya Moran of the Hiwassee Mental Health Center in Athens, …

This item is available in full to subscribers

Social media gets much of blame for rise in the youth suicide rate

Posted

Social media is getting much of the blame for the alarming escalation in suicides and attempted suicides among youth.

According to Tonya Moran of the Hiwassee Mental Health Center in Athens, Cleveland and Madisonville, an agency of Volunteer Behavioral Health, a primary cause for suicide among teens is bullying by their peers.

She noted that before the rise of social media that escape routes were possible for those being bullied to get away from their aggressors.

She suggested they could leave school and go home with the peace of mind that they couldn't be reached and could relax from the torment of being bullied if only for a few hours, a day, or a weekend.

But that is not the case now. Because of social media, bullying can literally be present all of the time.

Clark Flatt, who created the Jason Foundation based in Hendersonville some 20 years ago to help educate teachers and others about suicide after his 16-year-old son took his own life, recently described the rise in suicides among youth as "alarming."

Mental health professionals and others including classroom teachers, school administrators, athletic coaches and mentors who are in contact with youth on a daily basis say there are other causes that may lead to suicide and can also be influenced by social media including academic pressure, troubled relationships, domestic challenges at home, and economic concerns.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network notes that as of 2014, the most recent reporting year on record, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth (ages 10-19) in Tennessee.

Professionals who deal with youth suicide incidents on a regular basis relate that the causes of suicide can be complicated. Experts generally say that a suicide is not the result of a single factor.

To help bring down the numbers and reduce youth suicides, professional counselors at agencies like Volunteer Behavioral Health believe parents, teachers and others who are often engaged with youth need to be educated about the signs that signal a youth may be troubled emotionally.

While the list is not necessarily a coverall document, it should certainly include matters such as changes in emotions and feelings, experiences of distress and anger, the appearance of give-up or “I can’t do this any longer” attitudes because life is too challenging, changes in appetite, sleep loss, and lost interest in what had been pleasant or enjoyable pastimes like playing sports or participating in extracurricular activities.

VBH has professional counselors on staff to deal with issues involving suicide including a 24-hour crisis call center. You can reach VBH at 1-877-567-6051 or visit www.vbhcs.org for more information about their services.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

X

Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE