Shocking Suicide Rates

You may have heard that America’s homicide rates are much higher than other nations; sometimes as much as five times greater. What you may not have heard is that the suicide rate in America is even higher than the homicide rate. In fact, the suicide rate is more than twice as high.

At around 36,500 per year, there are on average 100 people in America who take their own lives every day. In each of the age groups between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death; for those aged 25 to 34, suicide jumps to the 2nd leading cause of death.

The foremost question in the study of suicides is the question of why. In America, the quality of life is generally considered to be very high; it would be reasonable to assume that our suicide rate would be far better than the nations who face a myriad of challenges such as extreme poverty, civil war, famine, and rampant disease. Paradoxically, this is not the case.

Experts have observed that as the quality of life increases, so does the suicide rate. They hypothesize that when people have a clear external reason to be miserable, such as famine or war, the suicide rate is lower because the person has a clear reason to be unhappy and a hope that the external factors will improve. However, when the quality of life is greater and there is no clear cause of their continuing unhappiness, the pain experienced is directed more inward than outward, and as such there is less hope for relief.

So what is behind the despair and hopelessness that so many face, and what is the solution?
Risk factors of suicide prominently include the results of destructive sins. Divorce, drug addiction, and abuse are just a small sample of the risk factors for suicide that stem from the rippling effect of sin.

The hopelessness that fuels suicide results from separation from God. Deep within us is a craving for our spiritual Father, who gives us a hope that this world cannot quench. He is called the God of hope and encouragement (Romans 15:13, 15:5). The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Comforter in the book of John. Hope is so important that it is prominently featured as the helmet of our spiritual armor (I Thessalonians 5:8) and we read that in this hope we are saved (Romans 8:24).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)

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