Who commits suicide, in the West?
It’s such a serious thing. It makes for such a dark entry into the hereafter.
As we all know, despair would be the leading cause, especially at this time of year, and there are many causes of despair! Perhaps each day, we can pray that everyone we pass by, that day, be spared of depression, oppression, and despair. It is always — always — a tragic mistake.
So often, and so doubly tragic, it involves our young.
Overwhelmingly, the nations with the highest rates of suicide are Third World ones in Asia and Africa, with a few exceptions — such as Russia, Lithuania, and Japan (making a “top twenty-five“). You see the map at the top, from Business Insider (which, however, is missing the African data).
But North America is in a high-enough category, and there are 44,000 self-killings in the U.S. each year and 3,500 in Canada. That’s many folks in the “outer darkness.” Just several weeks ago, a state legislator in Kentucky. Pray especially for nations such as Guyana, Sri Lanka, and both North and South Korea.
In the West, it is often tagged to age. “In 2015, the highest suicide rate (19.6) was among adults between 45 and 64 years of age,” notes the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “The second highest rate (19.4) occurred in those 85 years or older (self-euthanasia?). Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2015, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 12.5.”
Ethnically, in 2015, the highest U.S. suicide rate was among whites and the second highest among American Indians and Alaska Natives. Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Asians and Pacific Islanders, and Blacks.
Why may seem like a mystery. From 1999 through 2015, 1,309 children ages five to twelve took their own lives in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported earlier this year. That means a child under the age of thirteen every five days.
Most of it is tagged to problems with relationships — friends or relatives. And in this age group, blacks account for nearly forty percent (the majority young males). The suicide rate for boys aged fifteen to nineteen jumped thirty percent from 2007 to 2015. There is bullying.
Tragedy is not the word for it. It is the dark spirit, the spirit of death, that deceives people into snuffing out God’s greatest gift.
Maybe we can all remember to visit nursing homes — and to pray for those who are not old but in despair over loneliness, relationships, illness, spiritual duress, or finances.
And: “Lord, spare every child in this community, in this city, in this state, in this nation, in this world from thoughts of suicide. Rescue all, Lord — with Your illumination — from despair. Be with all who are lonely, and all who don’t realize that at the end of every life — however dismal — is Your Light.”
Wrap that prayer up and send it into the world as your gift this Christmas.
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