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How does academic stress contribute to teen suicide?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Over in the United Kingdom, Oakgrove head teacher John Harkin told The Guardian that anywhere between 600 to 800 students between the ages of 15 and 24 commit suicide annually. A poll of 804 teachers revealed that 73% considered school (and life in general) far more stressful for students than in the previous decade, which more than likely contributes to the climbing suicide rate. Eighty-nine percent believed high-stakes classroom assignments and exams played a major (if not the premiere) role in nurturing anxiety.

Beyond suicide, though, British students also cause self-harm in greater numbers than before, correlating with the increase in school and other life pressures. As reported by The Guardian, 46% of polled teachers claimed they knew of kids in middle and high school harming themselves. Cutting seems to be the most popular trend beneath this tragic umbrella, although anorexia -- which, by the way, has little to do with simply wanting to “be skinny” -- and other eating disorders appear on the rise as well.

The same thing happens in the United States, too. The problem of depression, anxiety and suicide transcends nationality, and The Almanac printed statistics from the National Institutes of Health and its study on random San Francisco students. Although obviously not indicative of the whole nation’s risk, it did highlight the relationship between stress and mental health taxing the youth. A staggering 30% of the city’s high schoolers suffered beneath a suicide risk, and one institution in particular (Menlo-Atherton High School) saw 40 teens forced to go under behavior monitoring within a year.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.