Nashville doctor Michael Reed, MD of Associated Psychiatrists of Nashville explains below why teens can become depressed and are subject to suicidal tendencies.
His thoughts do not necessary reflect the views of Channel 4 but are meant to offer insight and an opportunity to educate:
"It is very common for depression to begin at puberty. Young adolescents are especially vulnerable to be psychiatrically ill and to not be recognized as such. Instead the symptoms are attributed to adolescent angst.
Depression is inflammation of the limbic system, the primal emotional core of the brain.
When a person is suffering from depression, she is usually excessively self critical. It is the very essence of the condition.
So, if bullied, the self criticism (which is not usually reality based) becomes "validated." Whereas another person might be able to shake off the comments, a depressed individual takes them to heart.
The "kill center" of the brain, the amygdala, is often hypermetabolic (overactive) in depressed people. It's activity turns inward (a fact recognized by Sigmund Freud over 100 yrs ago) and verbally (via thoughts) attacks the depressed person. The result are severe feelings of inadequacy and sometimes suicidal ideation.
Therefore bullying in essence arms the amygdaline with potential negative ideations that could drive a patient to suicide. Sadly, [a child may feel they are] doing the right thing for [their] family and friends by sparing them of having to deal with [them].
Strangely enough, even though you might think of dreary winter months as being the most depressing, in actuality April is the most likely month of the year for a suicides to occur. And if one does, the most likely victim is a young adult or adolescent. Furthermore, the act is often violent (hanging/gunshot/jumping from a high place). Why? Allergens (tree pollen) are at their peaks and drive up inside our bodies inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha), interluekin-1, and interluekin-6.
And, given the prior winter months of cloudiness and then spring months of pollen, vitamin D3 is often a yearly low levels. Why? Pollen and clouds filter out ultra-violet B from the sun which is necessary to convert vitamin D2 to D3 inside our body. Vitamin D3 is important in inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. When it becomes too low (below 15 ng/ml), it begins to correlate with suicidal behavior.
Suicide is a mindset that occurs in unhealthy inflamed brains. The danger of suicides in the spring is more than at any time in the year more. Often suicidal people tell a family member, friend, or doctor of the plan before hand. Dispel the myth that people who "are going to do it," "do it", and don't talk about it. It is just not true.
The bullying aspect may be confusing as far as helping the [public] understand that suicide is the response of a sick brain. I would focus less on bullying and more on the nature of suicide.