Dark Heart: The Enigma Of Teen Suicide And Depression This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Who is killing the children? Who iscommitting the senseless acts of violence that annually leavemore teenagers dead than disease or accidents? Who is cuttingoff promising young lives just as they begin, leaving only onequestion: why?

Who is killing the children?

Thechildren are killing themselves.

Suicide, the numberone cause of death among teenagers today, is a taboo issue inAmerican society when, ironically, it has never needed to bediscussed more. Parents dismiss the idea with excuses such as,"My child would never do that," or "Only kids from the wrongside of the tracks kill themselves." But how can thesestatements be true when the number of suicides increases eachyear?

What is causing these suicides? The main reasonis depression. This disease is getting more and morerecognition and many are seeking help, but some parents tendto treat depressed children as if they are merely passingthrough a phase. Though curable if recognized and treated,depression can be fatal if ignored.

While the causes ofdepression vary widely, among young people causes are oftendeceptively simple. A failing grade, an imagined slight, afight with a friend or parent - all of these can send a childinto a dangerous tailspin. These are all little things, butmany teens lack the perspective to deal with them andconsequently blow the problems out of proportion until theyseem unbearable. Other causes include loneliness, rejection,recent loss, intense stress and fatigue, major changes in lifeor low self-esteem.

What are some symptoms ofdepression? A few include loss of hope, retreat from familyand friends, boredom with activities previously enjoyed andchanges in appetite/rapid weight gain or loss. Signs ofsuicidal behavior (which should never be ignored) areself-mutilation, talk of death or suicide, giving awaytreasured possessions, dramatic changes of lifestyle and useof drugs or alcohol. These signs are not to be confused withnormal teenage behaviors including moodiness, increasedsensitivity, moderate changes in dress or friendships, desirefor privacy and experimenting with dieting.

Treatmentfor depression is widely available through therapy, medicationand physical treatment and, in some cases, hospitalization.Treatment should be sought as soon as a problem is recognizedto prevent the advance of the disease. Also, depression couldbe a symptom of a more serious psychological disorder, such asschizophrenia or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and suchillnesses can be uncovered during treatment fordepression.

There are many hotlines and support groupsfor the depressed and suicidal. Here are two:

The TeenLetter Project

P.O. Box 936

Pacific Palisades,CA 90272


The Yellow RibbonProject

P.O. Box 644

Westminster, CO80030

Phone: 303-429-3530



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 16 comments. Post your own now!

Heavenley said...
today at 11:07 am
amazing, i love this so much
Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 8:35 am
i love this so much!
ChelseaB said...
Sept. 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm
I agree so much with this so much.  My mother treats my depression as a phase, when it really seems to never go away.  She acts like it's my fault for feeling this way, being 'overdramatic' and 'hyper.'  I know it's not, and I seem to be the only one who cares.  I really do thank you for posting this.  People need to know about this.  I wish more poele could know this, but this is one step to awareness.  Thank you so much for letting people know people like me ... (more »)
ErinJ said...
Aug. 12, 2011 at 11:03 pm
I completely agree with notebookgirl, as a person who has been through depression, it might seem stupid to you people but honestly, how would you know unless you've been through that. Plus, I know plenty of people who are going through something important, not a break up, but abuse and neglect. What they have no longer matters when no one cares.
thatguy... said...
Jul. 27, 2011 at 6:38 pm
really and truthfully this is  one of those things where everyone has a right answer...somewhat anyway. But one huge aspect that niether mentioned is when everything is happening at once to the person, for example there is a teenager, he starts to notice how different he is and how he has a hard time talking to people about himself. While he is bothered by his internal issues his mother is causing a handful of problems, she gets arrested, meanwhile he loves a girl she hates his guts, you ge... (more »)
ChelseaB replied...
Sept. 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm
I don't have the same problems, but I go through similar things.  I'm sorry this is happening to 'him,' and I really hope things get better.  Though the same thoughts go through my mind, it pains me to see other going down the darkest road...
lizzie said...
May 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

actually, depressed people often don't have the energy to attempt suicide.if your going to talk about depression, then say that in the title.

also, you failed to mention that depression is not always situational, but sometimes is chemical.in other words, depression can be caused by events in someone's life, or by a chemical inbalence in someone's brain.

and stop spelling words wrong.

LifeInTechnicolour This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm
Actually, depressed people can work up the energy to kill themselves. They'll seem to have more energy before because they're almost excited they've found a way out. Trust me, I know - one of my friends has attempted suicide twice and she's suffered from depression for years.
lizzie replied...
Jun. 11, 2011 at 10:57 am

i know that they can work up the energy to try.one of my friends killed herself- and a few days before she was super cheerful and sh*t cause she knew what was going to happen.

all im saying is, thats not always the case.

Sheeba said...
Jan. 30, 2009 at 4:34 pm
I think suicide is so stupid. All these teenagers in america are killing themselves over WHAT!?
People in other countries have literally nothing and are starving but yet they STRIVE to live. and here we are wasting away lives...Stupid stupid.
notebookgirl replied...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm
I disagree strongly with you. People who commit suicide are often depressed as this article states. When you are so depressed you concider killing yourself material possessions mean nothing to you, you can't think of starving children in Africa because you are so unhappy. Suicide is not selfish or stupid, especially when caused by depression. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, like an illness anyone can have it. If a teen is depressed it isn't their fault they are just si... (more »)
Bethani replied...
May 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm
People who commit suicide are very sad. They can come from a variety of backgrounds. This subject is very touchy with me because of my experience with it. Don't hate these people for what they did. Give them a break. They can get better. 
CrimsonTears96 replied...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 11:45 am

People who commit suicide don't just wake up one morning and say "I think I'll die today."


It is a long winding process, which starts with depression. Depression, may I mind you, is a medical disorder. It isn't just something that comes along randomly.

It attacks you. Physically, and mentally. You are tired ALL the time. You don't hang out with friends. You either have an increased or decreased appetite. Things that used to make you happy, don't even interest you a... (more »)

Aspiringauhor replied...
Jan. 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm
I disagree oh so very strongly with you. My best friend of 12 years was suicidal (although she did not kill herself, thank GOSH!). She was insanely depressed. She cried herself to sleep every night. She had no hope for anything (as the article says).  It was sad just watching her try to get through every day life. You should have seen it. Please, do someone like me, who knows someone who has been through it, a favor. Don't EVER say that people are killing themselves over nothing. 
CrimsonTears96 replied...
Jan. 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm
I never EVER said they were killing themselves over nothing!! I'm one of those people too! Which, is how I know all of the facts I listed. So don't go assuming I'm one of those people who thinks suicide is stupid.
BlackKittie replied...
May 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

people in starving countries usually dont have pressure from school, friends and drama.and when your starving, survival kicks in.im pretty sure survival mode doesn't let you think about killing yourself.

also, people in poverty don't have all the communication systems we do.they get word of mouth, and thats about it.so you probably just haven't heard of suicides in other places besides america.ignorant much?dont assume that everyone experiences life the same way you do, and dont a... (more »)

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