After steadily declining for a decade, teen suicide spiked by 18 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to a recent study conducted at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.1
The research, published in the September 3, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at the suicide rate among U.S. youth younger than 20 years and concluded that although there was a slight decrease in suicide from 2004 to 2005, the overall rates remain much higher than the trend from 1996 to 2003 would have predicted. "We now need to consider the possibility that the increase is an indicator of an emerging public health crisis," said Jeff Bridge, a principal investigator.2
The next step is to look for a cause. “Several factors that should be considered as possible contributors to the increase in youth suicides include the influence of internet social networks…and higher rates of untreated depression,” a Nationwide Children’s Hospital press release stated.2 Whereas chemical imbalances and “trash talk” on MySpace are certainly potential causative factors in suicide, a different element may be even more relevant: wrong thinking about who we are, where we came from, and why we’re here.
According to the evolutionary story taught in our taxpayer-funded textbooks, we are descendants of tiny cells that spontaneously arose from a primordial soup. We are the purposeless products of time, chance, and nature. Furthermore, we are purely material, going nowhere, and we will end our brief cosmic journey only to become worm food.3 Indeed, Ernst Haeckel, the strongest proponent of evolution during his time, offered, “The voluntary death by which a man puts an end to intolerable suffering is really an act of redemption.”4
For those who base their worldview on such unsubstantiated, unscientific dogma, the lack of purpose and higher meaning would be a possible trigger for depression and suicide. The fact that teen suicide is increasing may be a called a public health crisis, but for many, its cause must lie beyond mere social or chemical considerations.
There is a sure and reasonable hope for those who are despondent. The Creator Himself has given us clear answers to our deepest questions, answers that are consistent with what we perceive about our world. Humans are not just purely material beings that are driven by mindless circumstance. Instead, we are special creations of a good, powerful and loving God. According to God’s Word, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”5 God therefore offers us a path to redemption and wholeness through His Promised One, Jesus.6
- Bridge, J.A., et al. 2008. Suicide Trends Among Youths Aged 10 to 19 Years in the United States, 1996-2005. Journal of the American Medical Association. 300 (9): 1025-1026.
- Increase in Youth Suicide Rate Following Decade-Long Decline May Reflect Emerging Health Crisis. Nationwide Children’s Hospital press release, September 2, 2008.
- Carlson, R., and E. Decker. 2003. Fast Facts on False Teaching. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 64-66.
- Haeckel, E. 1904. The Wonders of Life: A Popular Study of Biological Philosophy. London: Watts and Co., 114.
- Ephesians 2:10.
- Isaiah 53:4-5; John 3:16.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
Article posted on September 11, 2008.