Recent suicides of two seventeen-year-old seniors in Plano, Texas, generated shock and a plethora of articles contemplating the reasons behind a steady rise in suicides of youth between the ages of 10 to 24.
Dr. Thomas Simon with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, “We’re seeing significant increases in suicide for those ages. When you go back to 2007, the rates in that age group have gone up every year.”
It’s up thirteen percent since 2010. Males are four times more likely to die by suicide and the likelihood of it happening is greater in rural areas of Western states.
Their alarm is justified; however, it appears the experts are ignoring some obvious contributing factors.
Experts say it’s unclear what is causing this alarming trend. Cyber bullying is the factor most often pointed to that impacts the rising suicide rate among our youth. They say this is because of the ease and tendency for teens to hide behind digital tormenting, often using fake names and/or accounts. Much of what they say is true. Undoubtedly bullying has contributed to teen suicide.
However, I believe they’re missing other compelling reasons. A recent article by Cristina Corbin, Grim Headlines, Hard Data Show Suicides on Rise Among Teens Nationally, didn’t even allude to them.
In today’s society pre-teens, teenagers and young adults are bombarded with the tragically misguided belief that sex outside of marriage and resultant abortion hold no mental health dangers for them. At every turn—TV, music, movies, public education—America’s youth are encouraged to participate in sex, in all of its deviant forms, with no fear of what can often be emotionally devastating consequences. And if a pregnancy does occur, abortion is sold as a safe, easy and painless way to rid them of the unwanted “product of conception.”
About half of our nation’s nearly one million annual abortions are performed on youth 24 or younger.
If you grew up within an intact family, your foundational source of love—an essential emotion we all need and crave—came from those with whom you lived, or, if not, then likely from your extended family. But in today’s society, the American family is becoming more and more scarce or even fractured beyond recognition.
In the face of this reality, where do our nation’s youth turn for love when it’s increasingly nowhere to be found at home? Most everything and everyone around them suggest the answer can be found in casual sex.
But what happens when a young girl or boy who pursues lasting love through fleeting sex finds that love still eludes them? What happens when the broken hearts of a young mother and father of an aborted baby come face to face with the violent and brutal reality of “reproductive choice”?
Helplessness. Despair. Hopelessness. These emotions are frequent companions to countless youth who’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.
Maureen Underwood, a clinical director for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, made a profound point but apparently hasn’t connected the dots where sex and abortion fit in. She said when it comes to suicide “Many kids do not understand that once they’re dead, they’re dead forever. They don’t understand the finality of it. As adults, we think with our frontal lobe. They [teens] think from the amygdala—the part of the brain responsible for our feelings.”
This biologic reality should move adults and mental health experts to realize the teen mind is not yet capable of fully understanding the lifelong ramifications of premarital sex and abortion. If we follow Ms. Underwood’s reasoning, we must conclude they haven’t yet rationalized that abortion makes their baby dead forever—unable to grasp the finality of their decision.
Thanks to Planned Parenthood and others who promote casual sex without consequences, we’re dealing with a generation who has a warped understanding of what healthy sex actually is. It’s a generation numbed by a succession of poor choices chasing after a love that continues to elude them. And we wonder why the suicide rate among our nation’s youth is rising.
We can and should help them, but first we must come to terms with what is causing this human devastation.