Our precious children

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a 16 year old boy - a suffer of depression who decided so tragically to ended his life.  So many students from his school attended, sadly for these young people, this will probably not be the last time they will attend the funeral of one of their colleagues - suicide is happening far to often, taking the lives of our youth and causing so much grief for families and friends.

I don't have any answers to reducing suicide in this country -  just over 2 000 people in 2008 took their own lives, many 1000's attempted and even more considered it. More die from suicide than on our roads - however the campaign to reduce the number of deaths on our roads is far stronger and more determined than the message of suicide reduction in our schools and communities.  Tragically, 24% of all deaths for males aged 15-24 is suicide, this is completely unacceptable - sadly, mental health is not a vote winner.

This young life lost will become another statistics to the many we already have - his mother did all she could to prevent this from happening, including admitting her son into a mental health ward - in the end nothing saved him.  My heart goes out to her - when I saw her son's guitar and skate board by the coffin, it could have been my son or someone elses I know - I grieve with her for her loose and for all those others who will also loose their sons so tragically.

Our teenage children are so precious
we need to hug them often
we need to comfort and protect them when they feel vulnerable
we need to tell them we love them no matter what happens
we need to listen to them, 
        even if they say things we don't want to hear
we need to guide them and nurture them
we need to watch over them,
        but allowing them room to become independent
we need to tell them they are not alone
we must never give up on them even if they stray
we must encourage them to talk to us, 
        even if we don't agree with what they have to say

and most of all

we need to pray tirelessly for them and place our trust in the Lord.



  1. My work life is full of looking at suicides and why mental health services could not prevent them occuring. On my desk at the moment I have a 21 YO girl who left a 2 YO son behind, a 31 YO male, a 26 YO male, a 19 YO girl, and one at age 20 we are desperately trying to stop suiciding, but she will not engage. The world is full of such misery - drugs, alcohol, abandonment by families, but most of all, the lack of God to give them HOPE. Without HOPE this world offers many nothing, and since there is nothing here, why be here. It is more than sad, it is tragic that the world has rejected God, His Word, His Love and His Hope. S

  2. This is so sad. It's so tragic that families are so disfunctional these days that kids don't have a strong home to turn to in tough times. The breakdown of the home, and the introduction of excessive kids' rights is a lot to blame for the problems we face today... And, as Stephen said - without God, kids (and everyone) have NOTHING. :( And yet still the Word of God is rarely preached to the lost here in Australia. Evangelism in Australia is very poor... Sad; so very sad.

  3. In this particular case the teenager did have a very loving family, however dad has very poor health and also suffers from depression. What was missing from the family was God as this was a non-Christain family (therefore it was a non-Christian funeral - which was very sad in it's self).

    However, some (but not all) of our highest years of suicide (as a rate) were in the early 1900s when we had functional families, where kids didn't have rights - however it was the time of the Great Depression and many men felt there was no hope - they saw no reason to keep on living, many probably felt like failures as they couldn't provide for their families.

  4. Oh wow, that is even sadder then. :(

    Have suicide rates remained the same in the past decade, or are the rates still going up?

    It makes sense that suicide was so high during the depression. That was such a difficult time - and like you said, that had nothing to do with family structure. But in our time, I do think that does have something to do with it - at least in some cases... I've also heard of a few suicides in families where the family might have been strong, but the children were kind-of in the middle - having a strong family and Christian beliefs, and yet being out in the world for school and friendships - and I think this can produce a lot of confusion and problems in a kid's mind, particularly if they are living a double life because of the opposition between family beliefs and worldly friendships/acquaintancces.

  5. Thank you for an insightful and sensitive post. My heart goes out to the young man's family.
    Thank you for promoting the interest of mental health. It's something we need to keep talking about, no matter how tricky.

  6. Clara - in response to your question.

    For total persons, the crude death rate peaked in 1967, reaching 15.1 per 100,000.

    However for male suicide deaths the highest rate occurred during the Great Depression of 1930 when the rate reached 24 deaths per 100,000 and again in 1997 (23.6).

    For females, the peak occurred in the 1960s when the rate rose above 10 deaths per 100,000. This increase among women in the 1960’s has been contributed in part to the unrestricted availability of hypnotic and sedative drugs.

    Over the last decade there has been gradual decline of male suicide deaths, from 23.1 deaths per 100,000 (1998) to 16 deaths per 100,000 (2008). However an increase has been seen in the last two of years after a dip to 13.6 deaths in 2006. Suicide data needs to be used with caution as it is highly possible it is an under-count in real numbers. It can be dificult for the coronor to dertermine if the death is suicide or accidental eg in some car accidents.

  7. We have had this happen in our family. He wasn't quite 18, used the family gun & the family's favourite picnicking spot on the family farm ~ & his brother found him. No~one recovers from something like this & sadly sometimes there is nothing you can do. People determined to kill themselves will always find a way. They think to end their own pain never realising the pain they leave others to live with.

  8. So sorry to hear about this. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  9. It is very tragic that a lot of our youth feel there is no hope. I appreciate you sharing this as I have been really battling with my son and he is only 10.5. Thank you for the poem. xxx

  10. Jo- this is so very tragic and sad. It is a hard world that we life in and growing up is harder now than ever before. A terrible loss- I wish there were more people who could help these children in their time of need. Bless his family-

  11. Jo- this is so very tragic and sad. It is a hard world that we life in and growing up is harder now than ever before. A terrible loss- I wish there were more people who could help these children in their time of need. Bless his family-

  12. Great post and great comments.

    These are worrying statistics, and thank you for your thoughts on this growing problem.

    Teenagers can be difficult creatures, but they still need to know they are loved and appreciated.



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