LETTER: A suicidal future for young people today

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The Independent Online
From Ms Jane Brown

Sir: After reading your article on teenage suicide ("As the pop song says, suicide is painless", 8 August), I felt I had to put pen to paper. As a 16-year-old girl awaiting her exam results, I feel I am well placed to comment.

Depression, drugs and unemployment are, in my view, the three main contributing factors for suicide attempts among my peers. The pressure on young people today to succeed socially and academically is intense. This is matched by a growing sense of alienation from society.

I live in a former mining and market town where unemployment is sky-high. (It is, indeed, grim up north). There is a sense of apathy among many young people today. The future looks increasingly bleak - no jobs, no job security. Many of us have been drawn into crime and drugs and there is insufficient counselling and help for those of us with drug abuse problems, which are often dismissed as "teen angst'' - a phrase that makes my blood boil!

Is it any wonder that depression and suicide attempts are on the increase? There is a need for better support for young people with problems.

As for nihilism in rock music (maybe "alternative music" would have been a better choice here), groups such as The Manics have a cult following because they can articulate what a growing number of us feel. It's easy to seem angry in a rock band - all you need is a guitar and a sneer - but the Manics' songs are intelligent, articulate ideological battles. Perhaps I could add a quote to your "Lines for die for'': "It's not that I can't find worth in anything, it's just that I can't find worth in enough."

Yours faithfully,

Jane Brown

Doncaster

8 August

The writer is using a pseudonym.

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