Before you finish reading this, one individual will have ended their life—because they think they have no other choice. According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people take their own lives every year—that’s one death by suicide every 40 seconds.
U.S. suicide rates have surged to a 30-year high, and it’s not just middle-aged males. Those most vulnerable are young people, seeing as suicide is “the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally.” Suicides by girls age 10 to 14 have also spiked over the last 18 years.
School and the internet may be to blame. School systems are becoming “more and more challenging,” said Dr. Dan Nelson of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In addition to stress and cyberbullying, kids can easily access unfiltered information about how to hurt themselves.
“There is a seasonality to suicide,” said Dr. Gregory Plemmons, associate professor at The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. “If you look at adult data, most adults tend to commit suicide in summer and the spring. We noticed that our biggest time (for children) was in the fall.”
For some youth, the thought of returning to school sends their stress levels soaring, as they battle fears ranging from schoolyard bullies to doing poorly on exams. Japan — which places a huge emphasis on academic success — has the highest suicide rate among industrialized nations.
“Take a Minute, Change a Life” is the theme of the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. These words are at the heart of suicide prevention and complement the efforts of our Australian friends’ R U OK? Day on September 14th.
Make sure to take time to notice what’s going on with your family and friends. Someone you know may be secretly considering their final exit. Whatever the age, there are usually warning signs among suicidal people, especially in the age of social media.
Warning Signs of Suicide
People who are wrestling with thoughts of suicide give off indicators. Here are a few things to watch for, and if you see them, offer help immediately:
- Talking to others or posting on social media about suicide, about wanting to die, or about feeling hopeless or trapped or a burden to others.
- Looking for ways to die by suicide — gathering medication, sharp objects, firearms, or looking online for methods.
- Expressing unbearable emotional pain.
- Visiting or calling people to “say good-bye.”
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Suddenly becoming calm or cheerful after a long period of depression
There’s a Better Way
For millions who are battling depression and suicidal thoughts, “EXIT” is a new hope-inspiring film from evangelist Ray Comfort and his Living Waters ministry, creators of the award-winning TV program The Way of the Master and the popular movies “180” and “Evolution vs. God.” The film is now available for free on YouTube, just as Comfort’s previous movies have been.
It’s a hard topic to think about, and a difficult issue to discuss. But people who are depressed can become so beaten, so tired, and so low, that they don’t feel like the fight is worth it anymore. They think no one will care if they are gone, so they give up. Sadly, they are wrong. Comfort and his team encourage people to confide in those closest to them and allow loved ones to share their burdens.
“EXIT” is a compelling movie that shines a powerful light in the darkness and offers true hope to those who think they have none. It reminds people who they are and where their worth comes from. The film was created to reach those who suffer from deep sadness and despair, and direct people to a “better way” that can save their lives.
If you are personally suffering from depression or contemplating suicide, please read the following advice from Ray Comfort:
- YOU HAVE WORTH. You are not a cosmic accident; you are not here by chance. The Bible says God formed you in your mother’s womb. You are special, unique, and handcrafted by the Creator; and because of that your life has meaning. No matter where you’ve been, what’s happened, or what you’ve done, nothing can ever erase the incredible value God has placed on you as His creation.
- YOU ARE LOVED. The Bible says, “God is love.” He not only knows your turmoil and pain, He cares deeply and promises that if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. You can be adopted into His family as His beloved child.
- THERE IS HOPE. The Bible tells us that by trusting in Jesus we have a “living hope,” a hope that is an anchor for the soul. If you don’t know God personally, you can, through genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Your sins will be washed away. His Spirit will come to live within you and will never leave you, and you’ll be given a new heart with new desires. The meaning and purpose of your life is to truly love God and walk with Him. You can find healing, forgiveness, and hope in Christ.
- HELP IS AVAILABLE. Like a mold of the soul, severe depression grows in the cold dampness of isolation. Please, open up and reach out for support.
The film’s website has a “Help” page that directs those struggling with suicidal thoughts to seek professional help, and includes contact information for a Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, along with online prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Feeling anxious? Ray’s friend Todd Friel wrote a book, Stressed Out: A Practical, Biblical Approach to Anxiety, available on Amazon.
More information and additional resources can be found at TheExitMovie.com. Watch “EXIT” right here, right now! And be sure to share it with those you love.