TEEN SUICIDE
PREVENTION STRATEGIES

  The primary prevention strategy overwhelmingly prescribed by experts is the rebuilding of strong family ties, coupled with the rebuilding of moral and ethical standards which tend to cement a young person's position as one who has valued standing in his or her primary social group.
  In plain English, that means children who have a strong sense of belonging in a family with strong moral structure and personal warmth are more secure than children who lack similar emotional nurturing.
  The decline in personal religious faith is repeatedly cited by experts who have no philosophical or theological axe to grind. Take, for example, the recommendation of Dr. Steven Stack, Associate Professor of Sociology at Auburn University, whose recent study showed that a 1% increase in church attendance by youth would result in a 1.4% decrease in teen suicide rates.
  Using common sense, almost any impartial observer could predict how the fundamental tenets of the orthodox Christian religion (or Judeo-Christian values) tend to disarm potential problem areas which converge to encourage depression, hopelessness, lack of self-worth, isolation and eventual suicide.
  The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) encourages the building of strong, interdependent families with emphasis on lifetime relationships,

compassion and caring, loving discipline, and respect for the innate human value of each family member—an ultimate value which is derived solely from God.
  Other significant teachings focus on the presence of never-ending hope. Through the Bible, God assures even those who feel isolated and rejected, that they have His unending love and approval. "We love because He first loved us." God assures us that our problems are temporary and that they can be overcome, that we are never truly isolated from Him and his loving concern, that every individual, no matter how he or she may have failed, or how many tragic mistakes have been made, still has immediate value and future purpose.

  The basic truths of the Bible, held in common by Christians and non-Christians alike, have served as a major source of social consensus, a broad system of shared values which elevates the value of human life and reinforces caring and compassion among us all, especially those who have unique and pressing personal needs.

  To further explore a personal relationship with God, ask Him in prayer to enter your life with the promises of His Word, the Bible. Then, read and believe the promise written therein. You may wish to consult with a clergyman in your area or write for further information to Ministries, c/o TSPT, Box 76463, Washington, DC 20013.

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