Saturday, May 16, 2015

Suicide Is Not a Noble Act

Today I learned of the death of a young man who is a member of my church; he was a teenager actually, and I didn't personally know him, but never the less, I was emotionally torn by the news. It was mentioned that he recently broke up with his girl friend.

I did a little research on the subject and found out things I'm not sure I wanted to know. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers and young adults. The ages they counted varied a little. Some used 13 to 19 and others used 10 to 24. In both cases the first leading cause of death in these years was accidents. The second was homicide. The third most common cause of death in youths from 12 to 19 was suicide. These numbers come from the National Center for Disease Control.

One thing that disturbed me was the idea that suicide is somehow noble and a good choice when life is difficult. Family members would not have such a response. Life cut short before it was embraced is neither noble nor exciting. It is surely tragic and bitter to family who had other futures in mind.

One of the factors mentioned as causes was break up of relationships, bullying, difficulties in school and general depression. When I worked, I was often called on to counsel people who expressed suicidal thoughts or behaviors. My response was to seek their reasons and defuse the immediate source of distress. It usually worked when they began to see the finality of the act, it became clear that suicide didn't help anything.

For these youths it is obvious that they need more than a little talk.
They need the confidence that what ever is bad today won't be so bad tomorrow. They also need to understand that a noble death is not one that is inflicted by one's own hand.

For the family of the young man in my church I can only pray and offer support. I don't see a silver lining in this cloud.