Recently, there's been a lot of talk about how videos and social media are influencing children and young people to attempt/commit suicide (just google '13 Reasons Why' and 'Blue Whale Challenge' and you'll see what I mean). Even more sadly, there has in fact been a string of copycat suicide attempts in the schools/social circles that our own children are in. However, most of them had been intercepted and/or their lives were spared. So we have had to chat with our children regularly on this topic and I thought I might as well share some of the tips that we've given to them with other parents, children and youth.
1. Look out for one another
Look out for friends around you who may be suicidal - they may actually say they want to die, or they may be in depression or feeling depressed especially after experiencing failure or something demoralising. Talk with them, pray with or for them, and most importantly, alert an adult who can help eg parent, teacher, counsellor, pastor.
2. Watch your thoughts
Watch out for suicidal thoughts in your own mind and replace them with 'good thoughts' cos our thoughts will influence our feelings and ultimately our actions and behaviour.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
So if we keep dwelling on worldly ways of thinking such as 'life is meaningless' and 'I'll be better off dead', then pretty soon we will start to believe them and act them out. Instead, we need to fill our minds with Godly thinking which will lead to a transformation of our lives. Here are some egs of 'good thoughts'. There are many more in the Bible, of course.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life." John 14:6a
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Psalm 23:1-3a
3. Get help!
Whenever you feel like you can't cope, go to God in prayer and worship, and read the Bible. Also, approach someone who can give wise and Godly counsel (a trusted adult eg parents, teacher, counsellor, pastor, youth leader) to talk with and get support from.