As National Suicide Prevention Month comes to a close, it’s important that we don’t stop talking about mental health awareness even after September is over. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of teens in grades 9-12 have seriously considered suicide. More than one million people in the world commit suicide each year. That’s why this news is so important: a professor from York University’s psychology department is calling for more attention to perfectionism as a risk factor for suicide.
Professor Gordon Flett believes that it should be included in guidelines for suicide risk interventions. As explained on Science Daily,
The authors document how being exposed to relentless demands to be perfect, a concept they refer to as socially prescribed perfectionism, is linked consistently with hopelessness and suicide.
Sure, the desire to get good grades and score the winning basket may seem important. But it’s just as valuable—if not more important—to remind the teens in your life that winning isn’t everything. Don’t put so much pressure on them to succeed, where it seems like that’s their only option and failure is unacceptable. Even if the pressure doesn’t come from you, you can remind them to not be so hard on themselves. After all, studies show teens experience stress on similar levels to adults.
For more resources about this topic, check out organizations like iFred.org, which are working to shine a light on depression. And learn more about Choices, our magazine for teens, which features mental health stories on topics like managing stress or depression.