The link between bullying and suicidal thoughts among teenagers has long been established, with early medical journals dating back as far as 1910 addressing the impact of harassment or teasing behavior on suicidal ideation.
Now, a new study published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics takes a closer look at how bullying can affect young people in today’s world. The study confirmed that victims of all types of bullying had an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, but that new forms of bullying in a digital age have exacerbated the problem.
Understanding the risk factors for suicidal thoughts among teens is important as parents, family members and other caregivers can be more alert for potential signs of problems at times when the teen is at the greatest risk. When a professional is providing therapy or treatment to a teen who is the victim of cyber bullying or other denigrating behavior, it is essential that the teen has adequate support. A suicide attorney can help families affected by a death by suicide to take legal action against a mental health counselor or other party who failed to provide appropriate treatment and/or who failed to provide a correct diagnosis for a teen experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Risk Factors for Suicidal Thoughts Among Teens
Suicide is one of the leading causes of teen deaths worldwide, and between five and eight percent of teenagers in the U.S. attempt to die by suicide annually. Bullying is also common among young people. As many as one out of every five teens is involved in some type of bullying.
Researchers decided to take a closer look at how this widespread bullying is affecting rates of death by suicide. A total of 34 different studies on suicidal ideation and peer victimization were reviewed. In total, the studies provided data on 284,375 young people between the ages of nine and 21.
The researchers found that children who had experienced bullying were 2.23 times as likely to have suicidal thoughts as those children who had not been victimized by abusive or aggressive behavior. In situations where the children had both been a bully and been bullied by others, there was a slightly greater risk of suicidal thoughts. These children were 2.35 times as likely to consider death by suicide than young people who had not had any involvement with bullying at all.
The greatest risk-factor, however, was cyber-bullying, or bullying that takes place on the Internet. A young person who had been bullied via text message, via email or via an online video was 3.12 more likely to consider death by suicide than someone who had not been victimized.
There were many possible reasons why online cyber bulling is a bigger risk factor than traditional bullying. For one thing, material may be stored online and accessed repeatedly, resulting in the victim relieving the denigrating experience more frequently. Being bullied on the Internet could also cause a young person to feel as if he or she had been humiliated in front of a wider audience. The added risk factor existed across all age groups as well as for both boys and girls. Parents, teachers and mental health professionals should be aware of the risks and help to prevent teen bullying online and off.
A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can help. Call (214) 618-8222 to schedule a free case consultation.