A recent study by Kids Help Phone showed that as many as one in five Canadian teens have considered suicide. Photo/Pixabay

Suicide is not the answer

By  Rebecca Atkinson, Youth Speak News
  • September 15, 2016

I can’t express the sadness my heart feels at the rising rate of suicide among young people today. The numbers are staggering and I feel helpless thinking of so many who have lost hope.

A recent study by Kids Help Phone showed that as many as one in five Canadian teens have considered suicide. As I read this, and other recent stats, I reflected on how heartbreaking this reality is. But I also wondered how it is that so many are brought to such extremes.

Although I’ve never contemplated suicide, I can say it’s something that has affected the inner world around me. I’ve known a few people who have contemplated suicide, and unfortunately, known a few who have actually taken their lives.

Upon researching the topic of suicide among millennials, I noticed a common trend. Most, if not all, contributing factors that lead to suicide involve the self-worth or rather, lack thereof. This may have been brought on by mental health issues, family troubles, stress, gambling, food disorders and more.

Now, I’m not pretending to know all of the causes of suicide among young people today, but I do think it’s important to stress that each and every human being has inherent dignity. This may seem obvious, but it’s not understood and it’s even harder to understand when it is not clearly articulated to an individual.

There is a massive lie being told to many of us today, living our young adult lives, that we are not enough. Our modern society and media tell us that unless we meet certain standards or criteria, we are not enough.

These standards for living are unrealistic at best, but when it becomes too difficult to amount to all of this, a person can begin to feel unworthy of living life. With all of these voices and noises telling us that we are inadequate, it becomes very difficult to hear the still, small voice inside that is fighting to tell us the opposite — that we are good enough just the way we are.

In our faith, love overcomes the reality of death and helps us to remember that we belong to our Heavenly Father and no one else. It won’t matter what storms we fight or battles we find ourselves in. Our self-worth can be built up by the fact we are enough just the way we are, and neither the media nor society can ever tell us differently.

The sad reality we face in a culture of death instead of life is very detrimental to young people and society as a whole.

We must learn to not only respect the dignity of another, but to promote it. By continuing to love one another and encourage a future of hope, then maybe we will one day find that these staggering statistics and sad realities can be put behind us.

If I could, I would reach out to every person on this planet. I would tell them they are worth more than they could ever know. I would assure them that their heartbeat is a sign that God is still working.

(Atkinson, 20, is a first-year journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa.)

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