Different Countries Have Different
Different countries have different reasons for adolescent suicide. For example, suicide in third world countries may be caused by poverty rates, no healthcare, and discrimination. Whereas, wealthier countries such as the United States and Japan, are affected by school, social media, and bullying.
First, let’s discuss third world countries. Violence against women can play a big role in mental health issues. That’s why the suicide rates can be high, due to social isolation. In Southeast Asia, girls suffer from high rates of violence such as, child marriage, trafficking, intimate partner violence, and female infanticide (Population Reference Bureau). Violence in third world countries is a big contributing factor to suicide. These women are uneducated about sex, contraception, and safe abortion, causing them to feel like suicide is their only option to get out. Many of them are also child brides who are forced to get into these relationships, have unwanted sex, and are unable to speak up to get out of the relationship. (Population Reference Bureau).
According to Suneeta Krishnan, “Violence against girls and women in India has gotten worse, with an increase of 70 percent in the past decade”. Also, poor neighborhoods of Bangalore, India, found that 80 percent of women ages 16 to 25 have experienced physical, psychological, or sexual domestic violence by their husbands or members of their extended family (Population Reference Bureau). Child abuse, neglect, sexual assault, and bullying also happen in other parts of the world and can cause depression, PTSD, anxiety, and suicide attempts (Fox).
Depression is the leading cause of suicide, but there are many triggers that can lead to suicide. Things like disease, financial instability, shelter, food, loss of children, and struggles of daily tasks affect many in third world countries (Kodali). In Uganda, areas that were significantly affected by HIV and AIDS saw a 21% rate of depression. Although, places that didn’t have an overwhelming amount of diseases still have similar depression rates. Nicholas (qtd.in Kodali) states that women in Pakistan also suffered from depression and anxiety which could be caused by multiple pregnancies, early marriage, and early motherhood.
Sadly, these countries do not have the mental health resources that we do. They do not have government funding, facilitates, or medication. In Uganda, there are only 28 mental health in the entire nation (Kodali). In the United States, there is a psychiatrist for every 12,000 Americans, but in Uganda there is one psychologist for every 5 million people. There are some countries that don’t even have any mental health facilities, such as Sierra Leone (Kodali). Third world countries need help, wealthier countries should give them the treatment they need; human resources, medication, therapy etc. Suicide could be preventable if we could give them the supplies they need. “Strong Minds Impact Evaluation Report” says that, in Uganda, GIPT sessions were led by locals who had undergone two weeks of training. The patients receiving GIPT drastically improved in comparison to the control group. Where the control group saw around a 40 percent reduction in depressive symptoms, the intervention group saw almost an 80 percent reduction (Kodali). If volunteers can go educate citizens of third world countries how to conduct therapy sessions, it would help significantly. They have already seen improvements in people by doing these therapy sessions.
Secondly, we have wealthier countries such as the United States, Japan, and New Zealand. Though adolescents aren’t burdened with what third world countries deal with, things like social media, school, and bullying are the main factors contributing to the high suicide rate.
Bullying is one of the main causes of suicide and it can happen at school or on social media. Bully-related suicide can be physical, emotional, cyberbullying, or sexting (Bullying Statistics). “A study in Britain found that at least half of suicide among young people are related to bullying” (Bullying Statistics). In Japan, nearly 90% of children surveyed said that they have been bullied and bullied others (Oi). Mr. Ishii wrote a suicide note when he was younger, and he said "I felt helpless because I hated all the rules – not just the school’s rules but also the rules among kids. For example, you have to observe the power structure carefully not to get bullied. Even then, if you choose not to join the bullies, you can become their next target” (Oi). Bullying is affected many students all around the world.
Bullying can be preventable if you say something. If you are being bullied, tell an adult and they will help do something about it. The same goes with cyberbullying, block them, and tell a trusted adult. We are taught the saying “if you see something, say something”. However, a lot of people actually don’t do anything if they witness bullying, because they are too scared to say something, or don’t want to seem like a snitch. This idea of not wanting to be a snitch needs to end. I believe if people could stand up for one other or for themselves, suicide from being bullied could stop. It’s so important to say something in situations like this because you can save someone’s life. Another thing is parents should be more aware of what’s going on with their children’s life. They need to communicate better with their children about bullying. Many kids feel embarrassed to admit that they are being bullied, and most kids don’t want to open up if they are involved in bullying (Bullying Statistics). I also believe that their needs to be stricter laws surrounding bullying.
Social media is another reason for adolescent suicide. It can be a very toxic and negative platform. I believe that parents should be aware of what’s going on in their child’s life. Parents need to know the negative factors associated with social media and monitor their child’s use through time limits or simply talking to your child about what they are seeing on social media.
Lastly, the educational system has a huge impact on adolescents. Japan is greatly affected by how strict school is. September 1, the day school begins, is the largest number of children under 18 who have taken their lives (Oi). School is so stressful and competitive for students that they would rather end their lives than attend school. Police gathered suicide notes which showed that students blamed the overarching pressures of school as their primary source of their problems (Lu). Students in Japan spend all of their time studying and doing homework, so they can thrive in school. There is so much pressure from their teachers, parents, and peers to be the best. They are so pressured to pass a test and have a good career, that it becomes too overwhelming for many. Also, a cultural trend like hikikomori causes some people to feel isolated and feel like they are unable to vent. Students believe that they are not allowed to complain and bottle up they problems rather than seek help (Lu).
I believe that the work load needs to be decreased or even eliminated. Adolescents should not have to spend their whole day studying, they need personal time, and time socializing with others. There should be public discussion of mental health in Japan and other Asian countries that struggle with high rates of suicide. I believe that people are too scared or embarrassed to discuss depression or anxiety, which needs to change. However, the Japanese government have tried to have a public discussion about mental health, but the attempts have fallen short. They are also trying to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025 (Lu). The problem with their attempts is that their mental health system is underdeveloped. They don’t have government- mandated training programs and are short on psychiatrists and psychologists (Lu). If the Japanese government can improve their mental health system and educational system, I believe that the suicide rates in adolescents will go down.