A Chilling Reality

Last night I read an absolutely heartbreaking article. The article released online yesterday by Time Magazine said…

Almost 40% of kids attempting suicide make their first try in middle or even elementary school, according to research that suggests that kids who think they want to kill themselves are considering it long before previously assumed.

About 1 in 9 children have attempted suicide before their high school graduation, but learning that they’re making plans as early as elementary school is especially chilling.

In a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers at the University of Washington surveyed 883 young adults ages 18 or 19 about previous suicide attempts and learned that 78 — close to 9% — had tried to commit suicide.

Suicide attempt rates rose steeply at age 12 — around sixth grade — and peaked two to three years later. The 39 teens who said they had tried to commit suicide multiple times reported first attempting when they were as young as 9, which is the average age of a third-grader. Teens who said they had tried just once were more likely to have attempted suicide later, in high school.

Being the father of three young boys I hardly have words to respond to this article.

I’m not going to attempt to explain why this is happening. Is it possible that kids have felt this way this early throughout history and we’re just now discover it? Sure. Is it possible we live in world where our kids are growing up faster than ever and they simply can’t handle the pressure being put on them? Sure.

What I do know is this:

1) As a parent I need to take my kids and their emotions serious regardless of their age. I need to take time to stay emotionally and spiritually connected to them. I need to take time to have one-on-one conversations where I ask them how they’re doing, how they’re feeling.

2) We need to be praying for our kids. I think we often have no idea how much is going on in those little minds. Their fears, concerns, worries, brokenness and stress are all very real.

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Pete Wilson is the founding pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN and author of a new book entitled Plan B, his thoughts about what to do when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. He is a frequent blogger on his popular ministry blog, WithoutWax.tv. Pete is married and has three sons.