60 years ago, we found the “Greatest Generation” but it appears we are now finding the “Lost Generation.” It is a sweeping generality so I apologize but just keep reading.
Today marks the anniversary of my first experience with suicide. (I’ll preface that in a minute…) On September 2, 2000, my friend Steve shot and killed himself in the early morning hours. I’ll never forget that week. I’ll never forget that school year. I’ll never forget going to school the first day after his death.
We will never know what really caused his death and that’s not what today’s post is about. It’s about helping teenagers. It’s about saving a generation.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):
* 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.
* 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide.
* 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.
While suicide does not seem terribly common, it is nevertheless a major cause of death. The CDC reports that it is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. The only two things that cause more death among teenagers are accidents (usually in the car) and homicide. And even younger children do not escape. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 14.
This is simply unacceptable. What is causing this major uptick, this epidemic-like rise in suicides among our youth?
I do remember growing up battling with my own depression and being suicidal. I will say it’s not a pretty place when someone reaches that stage. That’s where family, friends and love are all too important. We can not continue to allow this to happen.
Our call must be to be supportive, tolerant and mostly a friend. Then and only then can we stop this terribly tragic experience. Please be the best friend you can be to everyone.
*If you need to talk with someone, please call The Trevor Project. It’s free and confidential, 24/7.