Research funded by the National Science Council found that close to 20 percent of Taiwanese adolescents have contemplated suicide, although the percentage who have attempted it is much lower.
Research leader Yang Hao-jan (楊浩然), an associate professor at Chung Shan Medical University, said other studies have shown that suicide has been among the top two causes of death for adolescents between the age of 15 and 19, and the number of cases of teenagers trying to harm themselves has also been rising in recent years.
The research team surveyed 2,494 students aged between 13 and 18 from nine public junior and senior-high schools from three counties in central Taiwan and conducted interviews with 391.
They found that 19.45 percent of the students have contemplated suicide, 15.08 percent had non-suicidal self-injury intentions, and 9.66 percent carried out non-suicidal self-injury acts, Yang said, adding that girls showed higher percentages than boys.
The research also found that family support can help protect both boys and girls from attempting suicide, he said. However, while support from networks of friends were helpful in protecting girls, Internet interaction could be a risk factor for boys, he said.
“We suppose it’s because boys like to play games and engage in entertainment activities online, but girls tend to pursue communication or interaction with others online, so the support gain through the Internet is different,” he said.
As adolescence is a period of life when core connections turn from family to peers, Yang said parents should try to increase family togetherness and learn about their children’s networks of friends, especially adolescent boys, to help prevent teen suicide and self-injury.