Cyber bullying often blamed for youth suicides
Four months ago a Manchester youth took his own life for what is being blamed on cyber bullying.
Cyber bullies, classmates of his at Coffee County’s Central High School, took to social media and embarrassed and humiliated the 16-year-old junior to the point his brother reportedly said "there was no way he could have gone to school afterward."
While this is one of the state's most recent incidents of youth suicide, it by no means is a stand alone case.
No county, can claim a safe haven from youth suicide. It is a topic of concern for some of the state's most populated areas as well as Tennessee's smallest and most rural communities.
The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network notes, that, as of 2017, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for young people (ages 10-19) in the Volunteer State.
In any given year, TSPN reports that more teenagers and young adults die by suicide than from cancer and heart disease combined.
Cyber bullying is a leading cause for youth suicides, but there are other influences and causes.
In a study produced by the Centers for Disease Control some four years ago, several risk factors were identified in conjunction with youth suicides including a family history of suicide; mental disorders (especially depression); substance abuse; hopelessness; impulsive or aggressive tendencies; cultural or religious beliefs that suicide is noble; local suicide epidemics; social isolation; barriers to mental health treatment; loss; physical illness; access to lethal means; and unwillingness to seek help due to stigma concerns.
Professionals maintain that suicide is preventable and the prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and risk factors noted and taking them seriously.
Volunteer Behavioral Health, a nonprofit that provides mental health services in 31 Tennessee counties including here through Hiwassee Mental Health has professional counselors on staff and available to assist those who may be contemplating harming themselves or for others including family members, friends, teachers, workplace associates, and clergy, who may recognize or believe someone they know is in danger of falling victim to suicide.
A 24 hour, seven-day a week Crisis Call Line is provided by Volunteer Behavioral Health. The toll free number to call is 800-704-2651.
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