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Teen Suicide: Precipitating Events

Given the magnitude of teen suicide in the United States, and its devastating effects, it is important to consider the precipitating events that can lead an adolescent or young adult to consider suicide. Clearly, biological changes resulting as a consequence of puberty can contribute to the confusion and emotional upheaval experienced by many teens during this period of their lives.

Placed in the context of dynamic changes in their social environment – including more freedom, romantic relationships and peer pressure – teens can experience significant distress that may otherwise be labeled by a parent or caregiver as “growing pains.” While it is indeed true that many teens experience growing pains, it is important for adults to remember that the social environment for adolescents and young adults has changed dramatically.

An examination of the modern social environment in which many teens are reared demonstrates that today’s youth have access to information and resources that were once only available to adults. This shift, coupled with the ability of teens to access almost anything via the Internet, has served as the foundation of increased suicide rates in recent years.

Dr. Michael Clatch, Psy. D
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