Each year, World Suicide Prevention Day occurs on September 10th, with the intention of drawing attention to what people can do to lower the risks of people they know taking their own lives. The risk factors for suicide are well-established, with depression being one of the most common and causative. Recognizing symptoms of depression in loved ones can literally save a life.
The risk factors for adolescents and younger children are different than those for adults. Though depression remains a common cause for suicide in those over the age of twelve, recognizing other factors is just as important. Other factors in this age group might include:
- Bullying and stigmatizing, particularly for LGBTQ+ youth
- Being a victim of physical or sexual abuse
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, along with other disorders that increase the likelihood of a child acting impulsively
A disputed factor is whether or not suicide can be “contagious,” including whether local incidents of teens taking their own lives might increase the likelihood of friends and schoolmates following suit. Another potential cause of “contagion” is the repercussions of suicide by characters on television and in movies, such as in the hit book and television show 13 Reasons Why.
In instances where bullying is a factor, determining whether or not the school properly addressed the issue is important. In many cases, bullying goes on for months and months due to a lack of adequate supervision on school grounds. Teachers and other staff fail to protect the children in their care. School systems also miss diagnoses of ADHD and other conditions which increase the risk of suicide.
If your child has suffered due to negligent supervision at school, please consider consulting with an experienced attorney. Children can suffer broken bones from unnecessary accidents as well as intense psychological distress due to their treatment by both other students and by staff.