Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 24, and the fourth-leading cause of death among 10- to 14-year-olds. It’s a sad fact there are multiple social factors at work in our culture leading teens to take their own lives: Divorce, domestic violence, addictions, pornography, lack of purpose and many other forces confront them every day. And it certainly doesn’t help that one of the most popular shows on Netflix makes teen suicide seem glamorous.

There are countless programs and efforts to stem the tide of teen suicide, but with little measurable success. In part, this is because very few, if any, deal with the core spiritual issues behind it.

That’s why Focus on the Family has developed a new curriculum called Alive to Thrive: A Biblical Guide to Teen Suicide Prevention, which addresses the epidemic from a biblical perspective. When young people learn they have a heavenly Father Who not only loves them, but created them for a lifetime of purpose, the results aren’t just life- saving—they’re transformational. The reality is that only the truth of God’s Word can deliver on that kind of promise.

Most suicide prevention programs attempt to offer counsel, psychological intervention and medical treatment, all of which are important. But without the underlying biblical truth that every life is precious in the eyes of God, they offer temporary hope at best.

As Christians, we have the blessing of being ambassadors of hope, especially to a generation of young people struggling to find truth and purpose. At the same time, we cannot wait until it’s too late to talk about suicide. We need to assume that every young person is potentially at risk and be proactive in helping them discover God’s plan for their lives and future.

Alive to Thrive provides clinical, emotional and social insight into what motivates teens to consider suicide, and also establishes a firm biblical foundation for any person on the front line of youth work or parenting to help prevent a child or adolescent from reaching the tragic crossroads between life and death.

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Originally published in the November 2018 issue of Citizen magazine.