Youth Suicide: The Problem and Prevention Strategies


    Trevor Simpson was a member of the varsity football team at his highschool and coached his little brother's basketball team. He had earned a 3.95 GPA and had won academic awards in chemistry and geometry. Trevor did not use drugs or alcohol. However, he was perfectionistic, impulsive, and easily angered. On January 19, 1992, Trevor Simpson died by suicide at the age of sixteen. Shortly before his death, he had spoken to a friend about suicide and had given away a favorite cap. Scot and Leah Simpson did not hear their son's cries for help. After his death, Trevor's parents learned that he was probably depressed over the breakup of a relationship. (Simpson, 1998)

    Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Americans, ages 15 to 24. (Heckler, 1994) The occurrence of youth suicide continues to rise. The purpose of this report is to present a variety of strategies to decrease the incidence of youth suicide. This is not just a family problem; it is a community problem. Preventive efforts must include the family, the community, and the school system. Programs should focus on educating the public about the warning signs and about appropriate methods to prevent future suicides.


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