Focus Is On Teen Suicide as Singer Marie Osmond Son Takes His Own Life

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Marie Osmond's son Michael Blosil who was only 18 died on Friday February 28, 2010 in Los Angeles after leaping to his death from his eighth floor apartment. He left a note as described towards the bottom of this story saying he intended to commit suicide after a life-long battle with depression.

Michael left a note explaining he intended to end his life after a lengthy battle with severe depression that left him, he said, feeling as if he had no friends and could never fit in. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among older teenagers in America, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and boys are four times more at risk than girls.

Family therapist Terry Real, the author of I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, says anytime something like this happens "it just makes you shake your head...it's very hard to predict."

"We know from research that girls tend to turn things inward…boys and men both tend to turn things outward," Real said. "So you look at not the depression per se, but the things the kid is doing to get away from it: drugs and alcohol, acting out, along with feeling depressed."

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The primary risk factors that have been identified for completed suicides are major depression, substance abuse, severe personality disorders, male gender, older age, living alone, physical illness, and previous suicide attempts. Chronic pain and illness have also been associated with suicide.

Suicide is most prevalent among the young and the elderly. It is the leading cause of death among those aged 15-24. Among those young people who attempt suicide, eventually anywhere between 0.1 and 10% of these will complete the act.

Statistics show that 12 to 25 percent of older children and adolescents experience some form of thoughts about suicide and have suicidal ideation at one time or another. For some teenagers, normal developmental changes, when compounded by other events or changes in their families such as divorce or moving to a new community, changes in friendships, difficulties in school, or other losses can be very upsetting and can become overwhelming. Problems may appear too difficult or embarrassing to overcome. For some, suicide may seem like a solution.

In 2007, Michael, then 16, entered a rehab facility. His mother said at the time, “My son Michael is an amazing young man, shown through his courage in facing his issues. As his mother, I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Depression is a treatable disorder and if you suspect your child is depressed, talk to your family doctor and try to get them help. Meanwhile Osmond states "My family and I are devastated and in deep shock by the tragic loss of our dear Michael and ask that everyone respect our privacy during this difficult time."

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