Right Attention

As a teenager, I know that suicide is a scary possibility for my generation. After reading Tyler Hayden’s interview, “Expert Advises Santa Barbara on ‘Suicide Spike’,” with Dr. Robert Macy, the community trauma treatment and prevention expert, I became enthralled by the honest and insightful viewpoint of the interviewee. [2/24/10, independent.com/robtmacy.] The causes of suicide have always been of particular interest to me, and Dr. Macy’s insight confirmed what I know is true: Teens are misunderstood. As a teenager myself, I can speak for youths who feel lost in the crowd and insignificant. Peer pressure, which was described to be the root of suicidal incidents in Mr. Hayden’s article, has forced several teenagers to assume any identity that fosters acceptance. However common this may be, I cannot help but feel outraged at the community’s failure to respond to these behavioral patterns among teens. American society constantly reminds us to “just say no” to destructive behavior, but how can we expect the next generation to have the confidence in this strategy if they’re not receiving the right attention? I’m greatly appreciative of Dr. Macy’s observation that the media’s decision to post news of suicidal acts front and center indirectly encourages kids to commit suicide. What better way for an alienated teen to get attention than to be on the front page of a newspaper? I commend The Independent for presenting all sides of this epidemic without filtering information about the newspapers’ contribution to this matter. –Daria Etezadi, 9th grader, Laguna Blanca School


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