Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teen suicides have risen alarmingly. It doesn't have to be that way.

Yet the view persists that adolescents are somehow immune to the debilitating clinical depression that afflicts many adults. And such carefree-days-of-youth thinking on the part of some parents and caregivers can yield tragic results.

Teen suicides, which had been on a downward trajectory for the previous two decades, showed an 18 percent rise in 2004 over the previous year, according to a recent report by Journal of the American Medical Association. Although the rate dipped slightly in 2005, the most recent year charted, the number remains well above predicted levels.

As for depression, the World Health Organization reports that one in 33 children and, among them, one in eight teens, is clinically depressed. The organization predicts those numbers could double by 2020.


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