Normally, I’m thrilled when Friday comes around. But, today, I woke up to some awful news that hits close to home.
My high school (Arapahoe High School) has suffered more than its fair share of tragedy. I attempted to look up how many suicides have happened there from 2007-2018, but I couldn’t find an overall number despite the numerous articles that popped up. But, I don’t need to count. All I need to do is remember. While I attended Arapahoe (2007-2011), I remember multiple students who committed suicide. When I was at TCU, the Arapahoe school shooting happened, with resulting deaths. And, this morning, I find out just how many others from Arapahoe have committed suicide. In fact, the more I looked stuff up, the more I felt the need to talk about the rising teen suicide rates in Colorado.
Guys, this isn’t just my high school that is feeling the effects of this. It’s all of the high schools. And, it breaks my heart knowing how many teens are suffering from feelings like this. If you’re interested in more credible statistics, the link below will get you started.
Luckily, Colorado is responding to these increased rates, but will it be enough?
If you talk to anyone, of course we all know this is a horrible fact, that suicide is increasing in general. The fact that it even exists suggests a severe failing in multiple areas of this world. But, why has the rate skyrocketed over the last 10 years? I don’t have the answer to that. I think everyone has gone through a time in their life where depression was a problem. Not to take away from those who struggle with a biochemical imbalance in their brain, causing depression, but it’s hard not to think that these increased suicide rates are part of a huge failing of society today. The first article I posted describes ways that prevent feelings of depression in youth, such as having a “trusted, caring adult in [teens’] lives…”
How many of those teens are from broken families? How many teens see (or suffer from) abuse, malice, and selfishness in their own homes? How many are pressured to have more facebook friends than actual friends? How many are subject to bullying and disgusting displays of superiority on the internet? Why are they discouraged from talking about things that so deeply affect them so they can get proper help?
There are so many questions that can’t be answered with one solution. It takes an army. Now, it’s one thing if a person is being excessively coddled, because the world doesn’t work that way. But, I honestly believe there is something much more sinister at work here. What has social media done to our kids? What has social media transformed our society into?
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made…” —Genesis 3:1
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” —1 Peter 5:8-9
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” —John 10:10
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” —Romans 16:20
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” —Ephesians 6:11-12
I don’t know if you’re still with me. Sometimes I just can’t with this world. Now, because we’re human, we won’t be able to fix everything. Only Jesus can do that. But, we can play our part in supporting one another. I can’t emphasize enough that the “rules” people are so quick to discredit in the Bible are not rules to make our lives harder or less fun. God is telling you how to live a fulfilled life in Him. God is telling you which areas of your life that the devil can sneak in, start playing with your emotions, and make you believe the lie. What lie is that, you ask? You mean lies. The lies that say you aren’t worthy of love, you can’t be saved, there’s no hope for you, you’re life is especially unfair, everyone is out to get you, etc… I’ll tell you who is out to get you. The Devil. He loves creating havoc and bringing you farther and farther away from what your heart was meant for.
How many of us are perpetrators of what is wrong with this world?
Every. Single. One. Of. Us.
Sorry, you’re not special. I know I’m twenty-five and have never been married, but I’m talking to everyone here. Are you divorced? How do you treat your ex-spouse? Are you excessively judgmental? Do you admit when you’re wrong? Do you say you’re sorry when you hurt someone? Have you forgiven that person who has genuinely tried to make amends? What do you teach your kids? You can stick by your beliefs, but how intolerantly do you treat those who believe differently? How many people do you tear down instead of building up? How many lives can you positively influence by showing love, support, and understanding?
The suicide problem hits close to home, not just because my high school has been so severely affected, but also because of my future career as a pediatric nurse practitioner. And, I’ve had my own experiences that shoved me into a downward emotional spiral. The severity of the problem is not lost on me. But I just want more people to be aware of how their actions have consequences for those around them, especially for teenagers. It just breaks my heart that the two students who committed suicide before Nick (read the first article) posted on social media before their actions, but the friends who rushed to their aid were too late. And Nick should have never grown up with that kind of experience with suicide. Disconcertingly, these kinds of experiences are growing. What kind of world do we live in that fosters such strong feelings of depression and hopelessness in teenagers that they feel like they can’t go on? Think about that. If you’re looking for some hope, comfort, and peace, please try getting to know Jesus. Spread awareness. Spread love. Be a positive change. And, for my warrior family, always take care of one another. That’s all I have to say on the matter for today. Thanks for reading.