Suicide is defined as the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily and intentionally (source – Merriam Webster Dictionary). For so long has suicide affected societies worldwide and left a lot of families very hurt.
If the World Health Organization (WHO) is to be believed, roughly eight hundred thousand people die worldwide due to suicide every year.
What is disturbing in the survey of the WHO on the said topic is that the age-group of 15-29 years saw suicide as the 2nd leading cause of deaths in 2016. To break down the 2016 statistics, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-29 among both genders and the females. Among the males, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death.
While varied organizations and researchers have their own definition of the age group for youth, the Jesus Global Youth Day organizers defined it verbally as below the age of thirty, which I personally witnessed during the 2019 Jesus Global Youth Day held here in the Philippines. As such, the 15-29 age group would be counted as youth at least in this article.
Back to the topic at hand, the menace of suicide affecting youth right down to the local level of Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City made its presence felt when I interviewed Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) chairwoman Mariel Tumang twice in 2019.
During the first interview (published here), she told me that suicide among the youth in the local community was present not just in the form of committed suicide (confirmed death) but also in the form of thoughts (suicidal thoughts or suicidal thinking) inside the minds of young people.
Then, months later, in another interview Tumang confirmed to me that a tragedy happened when a 21-year-old man living in the depressed community of Masville hanged himself to death because he broke up with his girlfriend (click here). The victim was a loss not only to his family, his friends and the neighborhood, but also for the economy (note: he was already working in the private sector). Tumang stated that their definition of youth is 15 to 30-years-old.
Along the way, Tumang and her SK kagawads (Youth Councilors) attended seminars on dealing with suicide through the aspect of psychology and behavior. Whatever topics and skills they learned, they made ways to make their community youth aware of it by holding seminars locally.
The sad trail of youth suicide also goes a long way back in the form of archived news reports. In January 2014, a 16-year-old boy killed himself inside his house in Cebu City because of his failure in school (click here) and his school adviser confirmed to his mother that he would not be going to fourth year high school.
On April 2016, a 15-year-old girl was found dead hanging from a mango tree (click here) in Talisay City, Cebu. According to the archived news report, a suicide note was left behind by the victim (a stay-in student of a school) and she reportedly told one of her superiors she wanted to kill herself and no reason was given. Before the tragedy happened, her superiors at school found it disturbing that she (the victim) was very silent. Included in the news report was a police officer who revealed that the victim lost her father to insurgents while her mother (who was then linked to another man) was later killed in a vehicular accident with her live-in partner.
What cause young people to commit suicide? There are several factors related to society, economics and psychology. Here are the factors I narrowed down.
Failure to deal with fear early in life
Loss of purpose
Lack of parental guidance or counseling
Being misled by pop culture or online trends
Being misled by fake news or distorted news
Being misled by rumors
Living with negative vibes in his/her local environment (note: in the Philippines, most barangay youth councils have presence in economically depressed communities dubbed as developing communities)
Shame or embarrassment
Being misled by those living with unbelief
Obsession with people, images and things they idolized
Becoming addicted to something dangerous
Being trapped by religious traditions, rituals and other restrictions
Having selfish desires or very high expectations
Lack of focus on the Lord
While taxpayers’ money is being spent by government bodies of different levels to develop the youth and help prevent suicide, I honestly believe that the menace of suicide can be solved more effectively by having the youth realize their true purpose as creations of God. It is by having faith in the Lord that young people can truly become strong, stable and more knowledgeable with their lives. It is by having a personal relationship with the Lord that the youth can truly move forward with. If the youth can be educated to reject all forms of hindrances that prevent them from truly establishing faith in the Lord, they would be better off and youth suicide would be reduced dramatically.
Sadly, government programs for youth development remain insufficient to bring the youth to God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
What I noticed is that the Christian faith and spiritual approach to solving and preventing youth suicide is missing among the key development programs of barangay youth councils.
Ironically in 2019, in the city of Parañaque specifically, there were barangay youth councils that organized their own beauty pageants featuring local homosexuals as candidates which most likely added to the suicide factor of gender confusion. This is sad because not only was taxpayers’ money most likely used to fund such events, it gave the youth the false message that homosexuality is legitimate. In truth, homosexuality is an abomination and certainly Satan loves it when people are fooled into believing that homosexuality is good and accepted as normal in society. Let’s read a holy scripture confirming that homosexuality is wrong and evil.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)
As a whole, 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 made clear that people trapped by sin will never make it in God’s kingdom. As such, the youth today still have time and opportunities to turn away from sinful behavior, submit themselves to Lord Jesus for forgiveness, accept Him as their Lord and Savior to start a new life with dedication to live under His holiness. This is the good news that the youth, whether they are still trapped by the darkness of unbelief (read: atheism and secularism) or religion (read: idolatry, wrong theology, traditions and rituals) should know.
To help the youth understand their true purpose in life as God’s creations, they should be taught with the following holy scriptures (apart from teaching them they need to be born again as written in John 3: 3):
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, will all your mind, and with all your strength.
Mark 12: 30 (NKJV)
If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3: 1-2 (NKJV)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 (NKJV)
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Colossians 3: 5-7 (NKJV)
By becoming Christian, the young one can start a new life free from the sins and youthful lusts of the past. As part of getting reformed by Lord Jesus, the new life youth should learn to strongly reject the many form of lust like gratifying sensual cravings (example: losing his or her virginity in exchange for sexual pleasure), desiring the forbidden (example: taking illegal substances), longing for evil (example: bringing down other youth to bring yourself up just to feel good and proud), and engaging in experiences that are contrary to God’s will. These are emphasized in the holy scripture below.
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2: 22 (NKJV)
The Christian youth living the new life should learn to conduct himself or herself in an exemplary manner. This is expected because once someone gets born again, he/she is under the Lord and has been anointed with the Holy Spirit. Because really, under the watch and care of God, age does not matter and this also means being youthful as a Christian is NOT a disadvantage. It also does not matter if people will find Christians a peculiar people because this is expected. Learn from the next holy scriptures.
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4: 12 (NKJV)
The LORD has chastened me severely, But He has not given me over to death.
Psalm 118: 18 (NKJV)
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special peope, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2: 9-10 (NKJV)
I believe that involving Lord Jesus in the lives of the youth will spare them from suicide and all other factors that lead to self-destruction. I honestly believe that no amount of taxpayers’ money spent and no sophisticated government program can be more effective on preventing youth suicide (and suicide in general) than emphasizing faith in the Lord, believing in His Word (with the Holy Bible as the main reference) and applying biblical lessons in life.
Please take note that the dreaded presence of secularism is still in the minds of many government officials (note: there is a so-called separation of church and state in the 1987 Constitution).
If the youth realize their true purpose as creations of God, then it would be great not only for the local community but also the whole world. An enlightened youth, as children of God, definitely would not even think about suicide nor give the devil any room into their lives. The youth should realize how essential it is for them to study the Word of God (the Holy Bible) and prioritize it as their ultimate authority among all reading materials. With the Lord on the youth’s side, the menace of suicide and Satan can be defeated and the youth can grow in holiness as they grow into adulthood. Christianity, not feelings or earthly matters, should be embedded into the minds and hearts of the youth. Because really, everybody needs Lord Jesus and the youth need Him. With more youth believing and trusting in Jesus, cases of youth suicide will be much smaller!
As such, I highly recommend that Christian teaching (complete with studying the Holy Bible) should be included more in youth development programs and suicide prevention programs of youth councils. The youth who are spiritually unsaved must be taught the truth that they need Lord Jesus and have faith (not religion) in Him.
At this point, I’d like to reach out to the unsaved youth reading this…if you seek salvation and are ready to submit yourselves to the Lord, and accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:
I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now, I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.
Congratulations! You are now a child of God! Praise the Lord and always be faithful to Him! No more darkness in your life caused by unbelief or religion (and the idolatry, traditions and rituals that come with it). Your new life under the Lord has truly begun!
From this point on, acquire for yourself a copy of the Holy Bible (New King James Version is recommended), study it and apply its many lessons in your life no matter what situation you are in right now. I also recommend you to join a church of born again Christians near you and find your place in the spiritual family. Worship the Lord together with them and remember that each of you has a personal relationship with Him. That personal relationship with God is strictly off-limits to everyone, even to your family.
The Holy Spirit is in you and you are now a new creation! You are a youthful Christian right now, and you can keep growing spiritually for the rest of your life. Remember that God loves you and He is definitely happy over your conversion.
As a new and young Christian with the Holy Spirit in your heart, never allow yourself to get involved in youth movements that involve unbelief, religion, idolatry, traditions and rituals because those are not holy. The only youth you need to get involved with are your fellow Christians (those who got born again like you), and the only reference of authority you need is the Holy Bible. Once you get involved in a new Christian church, you can always ask the pastor if they have a youth ministry you can join in.
Remember to overcome fear, never let your feelings (and the feelings of others) weaken your faith in the Lord and now that you have been born again, your sins have been forgiven and your past is way behind you. As a Christian, you must always be fearless and aggressive for you are now part of the Body of Christ (the church). We Christians are the church of Lord Jesus!
In ending this piece, feel free to enjoy these Christian praise-and-worship YouTube videos plus a few ones featuring the model Christian youth herself, Sadie Robertson! Hallelujah!!!
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