Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bill asks: What makes teenagers kill themselves?

Let me start off by saying, if anyone has had direct experience with this, you have my deepest sympathy.

I don't know Bill, but I can shed some light on some aspects of suicide in general. The most at-risk people are those who have a member of their immediate family commit suicide. I think this relates loosely to the Veil of Civilization. Once someone in the family does it, suicide becomes a legitimate option, where as before, it's still beyond the Veil for most people.

Women are twice as likely as men to attempt suicide, but men are twice as likely as women to succeed. This is evidence that men and women do it for drastically different reasons. Women do it as a cry for help, because they want to change their life. So they usually take a bunch of pills, and leave the container in a place where it's easy to find. Most of the time, they are looking for attention, not death.

Men on the other hand aren't looking to change their lives. Men do it because they actually want to die. They jump off buildings, shoot themselves, or smash their car into a tree at 100mph. I know of a kid who went on the interstate on his motorcycle, and rear-end a car at about 155. Men tend to do it right. Something has happened in their lives that they would rather die than face. Bankruptcy, divorce, loss of a child, homosexuality or some other humiliation are often causes.

Teenagers are different though. They tend to do it as a means of communication, or revenge. They view their lives as so horrible that the only way they can express it, is to end it. They will also use suicide as a way to hurt those that they believe wronged them. Kids are abused all day everyday by just about everyone they see. Their parents ignore them, their teachers talk to them like they are idiots, and the system punishes them harshly for getting beat up. That's not even including the peer pressures, and the fact that what is left of the nuclear family has abandoned the best support system these kids have, which is the Church, and association with good christian kids and teachers who have their best interests at heart.

Bill, I don't know if that boy's dad or sibling killed himself. I don't know if he got beat up at school to much, or if his mommy ignored him, or if some freak molested him.

What I do know is, that kids who do what he did have been hurt badly.

I can't claim to know what God does with such souls. Biblically the age of accountability was 12, but who knows if that applies today. God's laws are firm, but his Grace is boundless. I wouldn't be suprised to meet your neighbor in Heaven though.

Forgive me for stating the obvious buddy, but everyone involved is in our prayers.

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