According to the CDC, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The report also states that for every teen who dies by suicide, more than two dozen attempt suicide.
Suicide amongst teenagers is not a new concern but rates have been rising in the last decade. This rise is somewhat attributed to the growing importance of social media in the lives of teenagers. Social media has been a great tool for people to connect with each other but social networks have taken the age-old issue of bullying and made it much worse. It is easier to lob vicious insults and attacks at people online than it is in real life.
Bullying is one of the largest factors that drives teenagers and young people to end their own lives. Cyber-bullying is famously difficult to stop or even to prosecute. It is very easy to create accounts, hide and encrypt messages and disguise where messages came from online. This makes it difficult if not impossible to bring cyberbullies to justice.
If you suspect your teen or someone close to your family is the victim of bullying, encourage them to keep screenshots and receipts of messages received. These will be useful if a case is made to the school or to the police if the situation is escalated further. Take any and all claims of bullying seriously and address them immediately. If your teen expresses feelings of being depressed, sad or even apathetic ... be supportive ... simply being there for them can make all the difference.
There are resources available to help teens through difficult times like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or even just local support groups through schools, churches and community groups.
No teen has to face the horrors of bullying or the oppressive nature of cruel thoughts alone: there is hope.