Today, our community suffers another blow as a young man took his own life on Tuesday. He was 19 years old and lived in a nearby town but his family is a key part of our little community and many are left asking the difficult and troubling questions.
I know I have asked this question before on my blog and I ask it again ... is our community cursed with this awful epidemic or is this happening everywhere? I have lived here for almost five years and in that time have witnessed the shattered lives left behind by as many suicides.
Likely, many of you remember the headlines that rocked our nation in October, 2012 when a British Columbia girl posted a YouTube video of her pain and distress, then died from suicide ten days later. Her name ...
Amanda Todd. Her story was sensationalized and her video saw well over three million hits. It managed to light a fire under politicians and school administrators here in Canada which is all good but more important than that is helping all the "Amandas" out there to know they are not alone. Hundreds, or thousands of people consider, attempt or succeed at suicide every day. In fact, according to stats by the WHO, one person succeeds every 40 seconds. And those stats are old.
That means in the time it has taken you to read this far on my blog post, four people have taken their own lives. What if it was someone you knew?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), someone around the globe commits suicide every 40 seconds. In the year 2000, 815,000 people lost their lives to suicide — more than double the number of people who die as a direct result of armed conflict every year (306,600). For people between the ages of 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death and the sixth leading cause of disability and infirmity worldwide.1
The suicide rate for Canadians, as measured by the WHO, is 15 per 100,000 people. Canadian mental Health Association.
I often ask God what I can do - little me of little town in big Canada - to make a difference. Then I am reminded of a young woman in my daughter's school who attempted to hurt herself last year. I don't know her very well, but she plays sports with my daughter. I was shocked to hear that she had tried to end her life. She seemed happy enough. Sometimes we can't see the ones who are hurting so deeply and sometimes we can. Either way I want to commit my life to speaking words of LIFE and HOPE to every person I see or meet.
Here are some things you can do today to make a life or death difference in someone's life.
- Tell someone (or yourself) today that God loves them and He has a plan for them. A good plan.
- Our troubles are temporary. Remind yourself. Remind those around you. Always cling to hope.
- Look up! Look around you! Take your eyes off yourself even if only for a little each day.
- Receive His grace today (His unmerited favor - you didn't earn it and you didn't lose it)!
- Hold onto His promises. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Tell a young person or a person struggling around you to never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.
- Say I love you and I'm glad you're here to someone today.
Thanks for reading this and I hope you will remember to pray for families affected by suicide and even more so for the ones considering it in your neck of the woods.
If you are considering purchasing Kristen's book, may I suggest visiting her website Reaching You Ministries, where they will send you a free copy of her book when you donate to the ministry of sharing the hope that suicide hides. Change someone's life!
Just to lighten things up I want to offer some musical hope for you. (Because music speaks to my soul and reminds me to keep going no matter what.)
For any young people in your life struggling with where they fit - point them to Blinding Light by Switchfoot. (In fact the entire album Vice Verses has such words of comfort and encouragement along the lines of identity struggles and suicide. I can't recommend this album enough to teenagers.)
"Deep down there's a hope inside, brighter than the fears in my mind. I keep looking for the blinding light. It's the hope that keeps me alive."
"None of us are bulletproof."
For anyone, any day, dealing with anything tough ... Promises by Sanctus Real.
"He holds back nothing that will heal you, even His own Son ... Jesus is alive so hold tight, hold on to the promises."
For my mission (and hopefully yours) to Speak Life by Toby Mac
"Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted. Watch them come alive as soon as you speak words of hope, you speak love, you speak life."
Blessings to you and ... I love you, God loves you and you are meant to live another day to receive the blessings He has planned in advance for you. If you are struggling with thoughts of loneliness, suicide or depression YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am here for you. You may contact me by my email address - jodi(dot)janz(at)gmail(dot)com - anytime. I will listen. I will cry with you. But most of all I will show you with everything in me that you are special and you are wanted! Don't despair ... reach out.