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We often think about the latest trends by asking ourselves, “what is the new trend in fashion or who are the “need to watch” college football players?” These are just some of the things that we pay much attention to in the world we live and play in.

To this end, there is a disturbing trend in America: it is an increase in teenagers committing suicide. Is there a logical explanation to this horrific fact? Young people, in the prime of their youth, a time they should be excited about living, graduation day, going off to college or the military or entering some other possibilities; but rather, they may be thinking about ending their lives because they cannot find any solution to their emotional pain.

Statistically, data shows that teenage and young adult suicide in the United States remains comparatively high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 there were 5,079 suicides in the 15 to 24 year old age group, making it the second leading cause of death for that age. Data from the World Health Organization also shows that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all those age 10 and over, with 33,289 suicides for all US citizens in 2006.

You might ask “what are the factors that leads to teenage suicide?” There is no one single factor, however, eating disorders have the highest correlation with suicide rate of any mental illness. Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that with eating disorders’ suicide risk is about 15 percent. Another factor involving teenage suicide is that the teenager perceived lack of parental interest. According to one study, 90 percent of suicidal teenagers believed their families did not understand them. Depression is the most common cause of suicide. About 75 percent of those individuals who commit suicide are depressed.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advocates taking suicide threats seriously because 75 percent of all suicide victims give a prior warning of their intentions to a friend or family member. So, let’s take threats of suicide seriously whether it is our family, a friend, co-worker, or a resident in one of our affordable housing communities.

Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!

Chaplain Walter Ghosten

By Chaplain Ghosten