Recently, I have dealt with tragedy in my life with a close friend committing suicide. Now, this is not a blog about my friend’s story, but it is merely the topic that lead to my thought process. It is insane to think that a middle school student could have suicidal thoughts and go through with committing suicide without even giving a reason. This unexplained death left a lot of questions whirling through my mind. One major question I came up with was:
Is Bullying Really the Reason for Youth Suicide?
After my friend’s suicide, there was talk that she had been being bullied, but what kind of abuse was she taking from others? Was the bullying verbal or physical? Was the person making her feel bad all day everyday? How did she hide this pain behind a smile on a daily basis?
I think it would be interesting to examine people who have dealt with suicidal thoughts or with families and friends of loved ones that committed suicide to find out if any type of bullying lead their loved one to take his or her own life. This could be done as an observational study to really get a behind the scenes look at people with this bullying problem. I think it would be effective to do the study by keeping the people being observed blinded to the experiment. This would be beneficial because they would be less likely to make up reasons as to why issues were occurring for the sake of people not knowing what was actually going on in their personal lives. However, lying or getting people that are very good at hiding things could be confounders in the study as well as background information like someone’s home life. For example, someone may be getting bullied which seems to be the reason they are suicidal, but in reality they are also being affected by a negative atmosphere at home. Another example of a confounding variable is, if someone was bullied but also had a terminal illness, their cause of suicide could have more so been from the illness than the actual bullying itself.
Questioning people and finding correlation data could help come up with an answer as to whether bullying causes young adults to commit suicide more so than other factors. When doing a study like this though, it is essential to consider each subject as an individual to eliminate other common suicide factors to ensure that you are receiving consistent data. It may be hard to do this study because it could be difficult to get participants that would be open about private matters. However, it is a study to consider.
After some research, I found that according to a nationwide survey from the CDC, it was recorded that 4,400 deaths yearly by suicide had been because of bullying with groups ranging from age 10-24. So, if bullying is said to be causing suicide, why doesn’t everyone who is bullied commit suicide then? There are people who have been bullied that have been able to stand up for themselves and not turn to suicide. This made me wonder if some people are born with suicidal thoughts from a young age which also made me believe that it may not just be the bullying, but rather they are born with something in their head making them weaker than others. After all, it takes a lot of courage to take ones own life because a non suicidal person would most likely never actually be able to pull the trigger on themselves even on their worst days.
In general, suicide of any cause is a serious problem. The smallest thing said or done to someone could seriously alter their state of being. It is never okay to judge someone in a negative way because you truly never know what they could be facing on a day to day basis. Logically, even if bullying was not the major cause of suicide in youth, it still should be prevented and stopped by the average person because it could save one or two young lives. Statistics show overwhelming numbers when it comes to death by suicide.
Other questions that came to mind after viewing the statistics were:
- Why is bullying increasing or decreasing in certain areas?
- Is technology making bullying a bigger issue?
- Does the area someone lives in increase their chance of being bullied?
- Does the type of suicidal method someone uses tell something about why they committed suicide?
No matter what the cause may be everyone should be aware that people are suffering on the inside and may need help before it is too late. Reverse causality of suicide causing these other factors to happen is not likely. These factors are leading to suicide. People need to recognize these issues and help prevent them in order to save lives.