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Being socially connected may up suicide risk in teenagers

Fears of not living up to such ideals combined with the ease with which private information became public, due to social connectedness, leave teenagers and their parents unwilling to seek help for mental health problems.

By: IANS | New York | Published: September 10, 2016 9:24 pm
teenager, suicide, suicide teens, teens suicide risks, teenager social life, social media teens, teens social life, peer pressure, teens peer pressure, health news, lifestyle news, latest news, Despite having social connections within the community, such conditions rendered youths who were already struggling particularly vulnerable to suicide, the researchers explained.

The homogeneous culture and high degree of social connectedness of a community can contribute to teenage suicide as well as thwart prevention efforts, says a study contradicting popular notions about being socially connected.

“The findings highlights the downside to social connectedness, something that is usually touted as a key tool for suicide prevention,” said Anna S. Mueller, Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago in Illinois, US.

Community with its intense pressure to succeed, coupled with narrowly defined ideals about what youths should be, can perpetuate teenage suicide clusters, in which a series of suicides happen around the same time and in close proximity.

Fears of not living up to such ideals combined with the ease with which private information became public, due to social connectedness, leave teenagers and their parents unwilling to seek help for mental health problems.

Despite having social connections within the community, such conditions rendered youths who were already struggling particularly vulnerable to suicide, the researchers explained.

“Our study also helps explain why some schools with intense academic pressure have problems with suicide while others do not. It’s not just the pressure, but a combination of certain community factors that can make asking for help even harder,” Mueller added.

The study demonstrated how community needs to be considered when assessing vulnerabilities, and why prevention organisations should no longer view social connectedness exclusively as a positive force in measuring suicide risk.

For the study, the team focussed on a single community, in which 19 students or recent graduates of the local high school had committed suicide between 2000 and 2015. Their field research included interviews and focus groups involving a total of 110 people.

The creation of various programmes to help students navigate perceived failure and academic stresses should be developed, the researchers recommended, in the paper published in the journal American Sociological Review.

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  1. Andy Kadir-Buxton
    Nov 10, 2016 at 6:55 am
    As a teenage school boy I found the ups and downs in mood to be too fast too graph as hormones raged. I had read in a newspaper that hospitals in the UK were painted green because it had been found that this colour relaxed the patients. I thought it would be a great idea to stare at a piece of green paper in order to relax myself, but green cardboard from the stationery shop had no effect. Undeterred, I tried other colours and came upon one which did relax me. I then set about testing the colours of the rainbow in the stationery shop on other people that were stressed and found that everyone has a colour of cardboard that has a soporific affect. The Tension Sheet was born. I soon carried out a test on those with high blood pressure, and found that The Tension Sheet reduced the blood pressure to lower than normal figures in just minutes and recommend that a tension sheet is carried at all times, and that a chill-out room should be painted in the right colour in every tension sufferers home. It is certainly easier to stare at a correctly coloured piece of cardboard or wall for a few minutes than the interference with breathing patterns that most mediation involves. And it has better results...
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