Last week I heard a grandfather ask these questions to a group of other grandparents: “When you were a teenager, did you know anyone who took their own life? When you were a teenager did you know anyone who talked about taking their own life?”
The only answer uttered by everyone in the room was “No”.
The grandfather asking the question is a long-time child psychologist who has worked for decades with parents and kids. He then went into a sobering overview of kids and suicide today that left all those grandparents stunned.
This morning I was scanning the news and ran across this headline: “Survey finds teen suicide risk up by 53 percent since 2012; 1 in 10 Iowa teens have suicide plan.” The article goes on: “The number of Iowa teens with plans to kill themselves has increased by 53 percent since 2012, according to results from The Iowa Youth Survey released Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. According to the survey, one in 10 participants has a suicide plan. One in 20 reported attempting suicide in the past year. More than 70,000 Iowa students in grades six through 11 took the survey.”
2017’s “Pain In The Nation” report put forth sobering numbers as well. The numbers not only reflect the pain among children and teens, but they should be causing us pain as we ponder how to best reach kids with the life-giving message of the Gospel and the life-supporting experience of flourishing here on earth within the Body of Christ. No kid should get to the point where the darkness of death is brighter than their everyday existence in life.