POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 69 Protective Factors • Positive school environment • Family connectedness • Self-esteem • Peer support SUICIDAL IDEATION (thoughts of suicide) can occur in children as early as age 8 or 9. It surfaces more often in the teenage years. Ideation is a principal warning sign for future suicidal behaviour, especially suicide attempts. It is imperative that youth-at-risk get the attention and help they need as early as possible. Strategies proven effective in reducing suicide rates, such as early intervention for youth with mental health disorders, are often not available A priority at both the national and provincial levels should be to get vulnerable youth the medical and psychological attention they need. CYBERBULLYING – A New Threat For Youth at Risk (Excerpt from Cyber bullying by Suzanne McLeod) Social media sites, such as Facebook, mySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, Messenger and cell phone texting, have become a large part of the way in which youth today communicate and socialize (Brown, Cassidy, Jackson, 2006). From this, cyber-bullying has become an increasing reality among adolescents. Research shows that youth who have been bullied are at a higher risk for suicide ideation and thoughts, attempts and completed suicides. Bullying contributes to depression, decreased self-worth, hopelessness and loneliness (Hinduja, Patchin, n.d.). Those who become “cyber-bullies” feel that they are able to remain anonymous, giving them a sense of power and control that allows them to do and say things they would not normally say in the “real world.” In cyberspace, literally hundreds of perpetrators can get involved in the abuse (Hinduja, Patchin, n.d.). Youth who are the victims experience the same feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness as if they were being bullied face-to-face. Because of the pervasive nature of the internet and cell phones, it is harder than ever for victims to escape their tormentors. It can happen anywhere—at home, at school, at any time of the day or night (Brown, Cassidy, Jackson, 2006). In extreme cases, victims have been known to become aggressive and fight back, or to become depressed and attempt suicide. Youth who have experienced cyber-bullying were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who had not (Hinduja, Patchin, n.d.). Centre for Suicide Prevention, Copyright 2012 T E E N S U I C I D E ■