10 Myths About Teen Suicide


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Targets are More at Risk
Claire Hernandez, 17, president of Project Change speaks to middle school students about different forms of bullying. Project Change is a bullying prevention peer education program.
Claire Hernandez, 17, president of Project Change speaks to middle school students about different forms of bullying. Project Change is a bullying prevention peer education program.
David S. Holloway/Getty Images

It's only natural to seek a simple answer to the complex questions teenage suicide prompts. Unfortunately, there is probably not a singular factor that, if addressed, could have prevented a suicide. In hindsight, a lot of emphasis is put on a teen's social situation -- like whether he or she was bullied for being smart, gay or overweight, for example. The reality, though, is that even though it's terrible a teen was victimized, it doesn't explain the decision to commit suicide. It doesn't affect the decision any more than experiencing divorce or drinking alcohol does.

In general, teens aren't more at risk for suicide because of their sexual preference, body composition or book smarts, but there is one exception to this myth: physical violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers who are threatened or injured by a peer are three times more likely to harm themselves.