Susan Phillips (2)


As suicide and attempted suicide continue to dominate discussions and topics related to the health care of young people, this demographics’ reliance and use of social media gets much of the blame.

Although not the only cause, what is considered a primary cause of suicide among youth is bullying by peers.

There were ways and means that a youth could escape from acts of bullying before social media. But, since the introduction of a number of social media platforms to include texting, there simply are no avenues for victims to avoid being bullied by aggressors at all times.

Before social media a victim of bullying might leave school and go home with the peace of mind that he or she couldn't be reached by their aggressors and could relax from the torment of being bullied if only for a few hours, a day, or a weekend.

However, that is not the case now. Because of social media, bullying can literally be present seven days a week and 24-hours each day.

Suicide and attempted suicide rates continue to rise among teens and youth at an alarming pace.

Mental health professionals and others including classroom teachers, school administrators, athletic coaches and mentors, who are in contact with youth on a daily basis, say there are other causes that may very well lead to suicide and can also be influenced by social media including academic pressure, troubled relationships, domestic challenges at home, and economic concerns.    ​

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network provides that suicide continues to be a leading cause of death for youth (ages 10-19) in Tennessee and across the U.S.

Professionals who deal with youth suicide incidents on a regular basis say that the causes of suicide can be complicated. They generally hold that a suicide is not the result of any one single factor.

To help bring down the numbers and reduce youth suicides, professional counselors at agencies like Volunteer Behavioral Health believe parents, teachers and others who are often engaged with youth need to be educated about the signs that signal a youth may be troubled emotionally.

​While the list is not necessarily a coverall document, it should certainly include matters such as changes in emotions and feelings, experiences of distress and anger, the appearance of give-up or “I can’t do this any longer” attitudes because life is too challenging, changes in appetite, sleep loss, and lost interest in what had been pleasant or enjoyable pastimes like playing sports or participating in certain extracurricular activities.

VBHCS has professional counselors on staff to deal with issues involving suicide including a 24-hour crisis call center, two crisis walk in clinics and two crisis stabilization units.

If you would like to learn more about how to prevent suicides; and others services offered please call VBHCS at 1-877-567-6051 or visit

Susan K. Phillips, LMSW, Center Director/Cumberland Mental Health, Gallatin - Hendersonville; (615) 452-1354 / (615) 824-5801. 

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