An alarming increase in teen suicide cases in the last few years has led researchers to investigate into the causes that are the major contributory factors in the suicides of young people in the UK.
Suicide is the biggest killer of people under the age of 35 in the UK.
A study, conducted by experts at the University of Manchester, has revealed that exam stress and physical health problems, such as skin problems, are the major contributory factors in the suicides of young people.
Speaking about the report’s findings, lead researcher Professor Louis Appleby said,
“There are often family problems such as drug misuse or domestic violence and more recent stresses such as bullying or bereavement, leading to a ‘final straw’ factor such as an exam or relationship breakdown.”
The experts also found that other social issues such as bullying and the loss of a loved one were also linked to suicides.
For the study, the experts investigated the suicides of 130 people under the age of 20 in England between January 2014 and April 2015.
The figures published by the Office for National Statistics in February this year revealed an increase in youth suicides.
The statistics showed that 201 people aged between 10 and 19 killed themselves in 2014 in the UK, up from 179 in 2013.
Another report by the separate Office for National Statistics figures, published this week, suggested that student suicides have increased to their highest level since at least 2007.
Causes of Teen Suicide
The research study, by the University of Manchester’s National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, is the first major study of the contributory factors that are the cause of suicides.
The study showed that 36% of the suicide victims had a physical health condition such as acne or asthma, 28% had lost a loved one, 22% had been bullied and 29% were facing an exam or exam results.
The study also found that 23% had used the Internet in relation to suicide, including searching for methods to commit suicide or posting suicidal thoughts.
“I think the numbers are the tip of the iceberg,” says Ged Flynn, chief executive of Papyrus, an anti-suicide charity.
The support service of Papyrus, Hopeline UK, has seen an increase in contacts from young people and parents in recent years, four times since 2013.
The organization said that most of the calls, texts and emails related to exam stresses.
“I think the pressure on young people in increasing,” says Mr Flynn. “Peer pressure – from family, teachers and friends – has always been there, but it does seem to be increasing.
“And I think the need to be liked, the need to be popular, the need to be happy, is fairly universal. And it’s unrealistic.”
The report’s authors said that improving self-harm services and access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were important to address the issue of teen suicide.