Preventing Teen Suicide

September 07, 2017

It's a serious subject that some people avoid talking about - but it needs to be spoken of regularly for the purpose of saving lives!

That topic is suicide. It is the second leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults. Dr. Harold I. (Hank) Schwartz is the psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living.

Q: What is the incidence of suicide in the United States?

A: The number of people lost to suicide has been climbing every year. Well over 43,000 Americans will die by suicide this year. Let's also remember there is tremendous pain for the families and close friends of those left behind as a result.

Q: Why are the numbers so high in younger people (teens and young adults)?

A: Nobody really knows, but there are some hypothesis. We do know that depression rates are increasing in young people. Depression and suicide naturally seem to go together. But then we look for still more answers, and we turn to the kinds of pressures that young people face these days, both in school and at home. Pressures from social media, cyber bullying, and all of the information that's available on the internet about really graphic, terrible things that are happening in the world be overwhelming. That includes information about suicide itself. People who post on the internet encouraging suicide and the discussion surrounding the television program "13 Reasons Why," which some argue has glorified suicide. We do see more people coming to us for treatment presenting with suicidal ideation who do refer to that program.

Hartford Hospital's Institute of Living will honor those who lives have been lost to suicide with a flag lowering ceremony on World Suicide Prevention Day on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at 10:30. The public is invited to gather outside the hospital at 80 Seymour Street for this special service. 

The Institute of Living is part of Hartford HealthCare's Behavioral Health Network, which  provides services for the full spectrum of mental health and addiction recovery. For more information, visit here.