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About Mental Health

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Teenagers, Medication and Suicide

By Richard A. Friedman, Opinion Writer; New York Times

 

Is our culture of relentless achievement and success driving our young people to suicide? You would certainly think so, given the prevailing narrative in the media about the recent spate of suicides on college campuses: one high-achieving student after another succumbing to thetoxic social pressure for perfection.

It’s a plausible but incomplete explanation. No doubt the intense social pressure on young people, especially girls and young women, is daunting, but stress is only part of the story: We should also focus on adolescent mental illness and its treatment.

At least 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and potentially treatable mental illness like depression, or alcohol or other drug abuse problems, often in combination. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people and has been rising since 2007. The unidentified killer in this story is untreated psychiatric illness. Read More