Tuesday, March 27, 2007

One in Five Children Commits Suicide?

Each week 450,000 children are bullied in school. Another 500,000 are taunted by their peer group in the community. And more than one in five children will turn to suicide as a way out of being severely bullied, writes Debbie Andalo.

Speaking as a survivor of school bullying and peer group taunting, let no one claim to be a greater foe of this awful practice. I am pleased that schools these days are trying to eliminate bullying. But this article claims that one in five children will turn to suicide. This is just nuts.

Granted, the rate of attempted suicide is thousands of times higher than that of suicides that end in death (I can't bring myself to call them successful). And the rate in UK is apparently much higher than here in the US. Who knows why.

Still... One in five children? This article claims that one in six children in inner cities attempts suicide. One guesses that the rate is lower in less depressed areas.

I suffer from chronic clinical depression (which I am able to treat with medicine). Also, my son accidentally killed himself by drug overdose. So I am sympathetic to the problem, but I can't help thinking that the aim of that wild statistic is meant to make the problem sound bigger than it actually is. Very few of the attempted suicides are serious enough to require hospitalization. A small fraction result in death. Are these people measuring suicidal ideation as equivalent to an actual attempt?

The quote says that one in five children turn to suicide as a result of bullying. But surely some of those children are reacting to the many other causes of despair: family problems, alcoholism/drugs, depression or factors endemic to their locale other than bullying.

It seems that the authors of the study are trying to drum up gov't money (about 4 British Pounds per child, it turns out). I do not know if that is an appropriate amount of money to spend on that particular program, but can't they justify its cost with believable statistics.

No comments: