Today was an amazing day at CrossPointe. We had communion and baptism for the first time since moving into our building. Our portable baptistery came in this week, and we had two guys jump right in and volunteer to stain and seal it. Mark Goddard and Elwood Spivey (one of the people baptized today) stained and sealed the baptistery getting it ready just in time for this weekend. Elwood, Leighann, Ezekiel, Kathleen, Lisa, and Ricky stepped out and let everyone know they were followers of Jesus this morning. It was great to have friends and family there to witness their profession of faith. Please pray for our revival next week, and pray we have to fill the baptistery often!
According to the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds. That blows my mind. On top of that the National Institute of Mental Health believes that as many as 25 suicides are attempted for each one that is completed. The leading cause is obviously believed to be depression. This breaks my heart, but I remember being a teenager and having huge mood swings. So what are some signs that we as youth pastors, parents, and church leaders should be looking for?
Often, kids with teen depression will have a noticeable change in their thinking and behavior. They may have no motivation and even become withdrawn, closing their bedroom door after school and staying in their room for hours. Kids with teen depression may sleep excessively, have a change in eating habits, and may even exhibit criminal behaviors such as DUI or shoplifting.
Here are some signs that a Teen may be dealing with depression.
- complaints of pains, including headaches, stomachaches, low back pain, or fatigue
- difficulty concentrating
- difficulty making decisions
- excessive or inappropriate guilt
- irresponsible behavior — for example, forgetting obligations, being late for classes, skipping school
- loss of interest in food or compulsive overeating that results in rapid weight loss or gain
- memory loss
- preoccupation with death and dying
- rebellious behavior
- sadness, anxiety, or a feeling of hopelessness
- staying awake at night and sleeping during the day
- sudden drop in grades
- use of alcohol or drugs and promiscuous sexual activity
- withdrawal from friends
Here are some signs that a Teen may be contemplating suicide.
- Talking, joking, or asking about suicide or death, including statements like “Things would be better without me”
- Giving away possessions, especially valued ones
- Engaging in dangerous behaviors, especially those that lead to injuries or “near-misses”
- Obsessing over death, violence, and weapons, such as in speech, television, music, games, drawings, etc.
Here are some helpful tips for dealing with a teen contemplating suicide
- Do not leave a suicidal teen alone, or allow him or her access to firearms, medications, or other potentially harmful objects
- Talk to the teen – be direct and ask him or her if he or she is thinking about suicide
- Show concern for the teen – don’t judge or try to convince him or her that “it’s not that bad”; reassure the teen that he or she can get help
- Take suicide talk and attempts seriously
- Get help for the teen from a professional doctor or counselor right away; if he or she does not have insurance, contact a local mental health center or hospital to find out what kind of aid or free services are available
- Educate yourself about suicide and depression
- Help the teen feel support from family and friends and/or join a support group
- If someone you know has committed suicide, seek counseling for yourself and anyone else in your family who may be affected
In my short 5 years of ministry I have seen teens that would definately be categorized as depressed. More and more, teens are hurting and we are the ones they are looking to for help. I hope this reminds us to keep an eye out for signs kids at our church, in our school, in our neighborhood might be hurting. After all, we are the ones who should be helping the hurting.
A few days ago a family in our church got some terrible news. Danielle and Greg have been at our church since just about the beginning. They have three young boys who love coming to church. However, monday Danielle’s mom and step-father were in a terrible car accident. Her mother passed away and her step-father is in critical condition. This is especially hard because Danielle lost her dad just over a year ago. The family is grieving, but the silver lining is Danielle’s mom was a believer. As difficult as death is, knowing we will see the person again gives us a unique hope. I heard a young widow remark once that as christians we can “grieve with hope.”
I must admit that grieving is always difficult for me, but knowing the one we lost is in heaven gives us a hope unlike any other. I hope you will pray for the Gidding family. Pray for the Danielle and Greg as well as the boys. We are so thankful that Danielle’s mom was a believer, but we know these are going to be very difficult days. Please pray for Danielle’s brother who is not a believer. We are praying that God soften his heart. Thanks in advance for your prayers.
The last few weeks have been great. God has allowed us to see alot of people we’ve been praying for make decisions for Christ. It’s interesting that many times the people who get saved are there as a result of a friend or family member inviting them, as well as witnessing to them. Often we spend our time trying to reach strangers (which we are obligated to do), and overlook those closest to us. Please pray for the many close relationships we have here in Suffolk who need Jesus. There are many people close to us who need us to take that first step and introduce them to Jesus. The truth is it’s usually easier to tell a stranger than to tell someone close. I struggle with confidence all the time when trying to talk about Jesus. But we need to place our confidence in WHO we are talking about, not who is talking.
Praying we see many more decisions,
thanks again for all your prayers and support,
Marc & Casie