In mental health research, suicide and risk management protocols focus on guaranteeing patient well-being and response to anticipated and unexpected situations.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents, as per the American Academy of Pediatrics (“Suicide in children and teens,” 2018). The research written here will look into the leading causes of suicide, the environmental factors at play, such as any influence of the economic environment on suicide happenings, and the role parental authority or lack thereof has on adolescent suicide occurrence. The risk factors that contribute to teenage suicide include adoption history, questioning sexual orientation, gender identity (transgender or not), and previous suicide attempts. Various physicians have also noted that the mental state of an adolescent can predispose them to suicide attempts.
For example, adolescents who have sleep disturbances, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorders, depression, panic attack history, and internet usage can increase an adolescent’s susceptibility to commit suicide (Shain, 2016). Bullying, impaired parent-child relationship, homelessness, learning difficulties in schools, social seclusion, and heavy stressful conditions such as legal or romantic relationship drama or parent-child quarrels also lead to social-environmental suicidal risk factors.
A survey was done of students from grades 9 through 12 in the United States over 12 months. 23.7% of girls and 15.6% of boys were found to have been bullied on school grounds, with a similar number of both boys and girls found to have experienced cyberbullying (Shane, 2016). These adolescents tended to abscond school attendance for fear of being bullied. There is a demonstrated link between bullying victimization/ commission and suicidal contemplation and mannerisms in adolescents (Shain, 2016). The number of girls committing suicide did not variate as much with a change in bullying frequency. Even so, males were at a higher risk of committing suicide with an increase in bullying.
However, it is not all doom & gloom. Increased screening of students through schools’ guidance and counseling departments can assist in adolescent suicide prevention. Investment in suicide literacy training among school counselors to preempt early warning signs of suicide commission among adolescents aids in reducing suicidal risks (Asante et al., 2017). This solution has already been carried out extensively in Ghana. Parental counseling is required to ensure parents understand the needs of their children and help their children not feel misunderstood.
What actions intercept individuals from engrossing in suicidal behavior?
Impact of COVID-19 on The Elderly
An increase in depression and anxiety has already been reported in the broader population, especially those facing extended lockdowns. The elderly population is greatly suffering due to the higher threat of illness, stern lockdowns, and loss of social support.
COVID-19 has disrupted the regular world order of events. People have suffered physical health and monetary ramifications from the ravaging disease, whose effect has plagued the whole world for more than two years. The pandemic has led people to isolate themselves in their homes, away from their workplaces, friends, and even family. Knowing very well that the human is a social being, this seclusion has caused more harm than good, especially to the mental state of individuals, particularly the elderly. There are reported cases of increased depression among the elderly, which has also caused many other problems discussed herein.
Elderly isolation has caused psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, and neurocognitive deficits. It has mainly caused mental health disorders due to increased anxiety about what the future holds for them as they approach the tail end of their lives. The isolation has caused many of them to overthink their fears, such as fear of abandonment, death, and hospitalization. There are also exacerbated sleep and appetite issues due to a lack of physical activity (Armitage & Nellums, 2020). Many elderly persons surveyed through open and closed questionnaires and anonymous interviews said they felt more alone from separation from their loved ones, freedom lost due to dictation from the caregivers, boredom, & disease status uncertainty.
Interventions that can reduce the unfortunate effects of seclusion on the elderly include psychological therapies, social get-togethers, physical healthcare provision, pet therapy, and skill & talent development (Girdhar et al., 2020). For social facilitation interventions, a highly recommended tool was an online platform known as Zoom. This video conferencing tool aided in establishing a feeling of companionship and friendship thus reducing the loneliness effects experienced by the elderly. The ‘Call in Time’ program piloted in Britain is an initiative set up to assist in befriending interventions. This telephone program was voted by many elderly individuals as a positive project in reducing their feeling of loneliness and helping entrench a sense of belonging.
Gardening, personal home workouts, which on-site caregivers could assist, gardening, knitting, painting, drawing, and sketching are skill interventions encouraged by health wellness authorities. These activities created a sense of self-worth and achievement among the elderly. These activities also help maintain cognitive strength in the elderly as it is well known that the mind is a muscle, and if a force is not utilized, it degenerates. Isolation might reduce COVID-19 prevalence among the populace, especially the elderly, but it can also worsen their mental health and aggravate any other pre-existing conditions that they may have. A balance is required, such as escalating vaccination protocols with the elderly being given priority so that they can slowly return to mingling freely with the rest of the vaccinated world.
Armitage, R., & Nellums, L., B. (2020). COVID-19 and the consequences of isolating the elderly. Journal of Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection, 5(5). Web.
Asante, K., O., Kugbey, N., Osafo, J., Quarshie, E., N., & Sarfo, J., O. (2017). The prevalence and correlates of suicidal behaviors (ideation, plan, and attempt) among adolescents in senior high school in Ghana. Journal on Population Health, 3, 427-434. Web.
Girdhar, R., Srivastava, V., & Sethi, S. (2020). Managing mental health issues among elderly during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Geriatric Care and Research, 7(1), 32-34. Web.
Shain, B. (2016). Suicide and suicide attempts in adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 138(1). Web.
Suicide in children and teens. (2018). American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Web.