Statistics should always be taken with a caveat. Nevertheless, a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012 showed that one out of every six students in high school thought about suicide. These kids are supposed to be the future of the nation and the world, yet they have already given up on life.
It is easy to write off teen statistics in suicide as being linked to their young years and inexperience. However, this goes to show that young people are suffering in silence, with parents and leaders failing to spot the signs of a struggling child. For those kids, there doesn’t appear to be anyone who can give them direction and encouragement. Perhaps we can do more.
Of great concern is the fact that, this year, over 150,000 young people have been treated in hospital for self-inflicted injuries. Were they planning to take it further and commit suicide? Was this self-harming meant to create a painful physical wound to distract from the pain felt inside?
Young people are suffering physically and mentally. The internet brings with it a new set of global bullies that can overwhelm a young mind. The parents, teachers and leaders in society need to provide guidance and encouragement to the young people that life is worth fighting for. But wait, older people are committing suicide too!
While the youth are facing bullies, falling grades, and increasing unemployment, older people are faced with the realities of bankruptcy, recession, mortgages, mental health illnesses, marital woes, and social and networking pressures. The recent suicide by actor and comedian, Robin Williams, highlights the pressures that even successful people may be facing in silence. And according to a report in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the rate of suicides rose by 10,000 during the recession.
These are just some of the problems that older people are going through. Are we getting weaker in spirit? Where is the resilience that unites us in dark times? Where are the people who lend a helping hand even when it’s not been asked of them? Or is it that we have isolated a select few, who, feeling abandoned, have tried to face their battles on their own and failed, thus resorting to suicide?
Whatever the answers to those questions may be, it is clear that we have a bigger problem than we care to admit. With the increasing threat of wars and economic constraints, the increasing toll on relationships and life in general can lead to a greater desire for people considering suicide to make it a reality. When entertainment no longer provides an escape for the tortured mind, suicide will become an enticing possibility.
Life can be hard at times. At other times, life can be extremely difficult. Within those moments of pain and hardships lies a greater meaning and lesson that we must try to learn or impart on young people. Those who have overcome their thoughts of taking their lives feel stronger for what they went through. We can overcome. We just need to change our mindset. As Phil Donahue once said, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.
Let us stand with one another and try to overcome our problems.