There is one suicide death every 12 minutes in the U.S. What a staggering and heart wrenching number.
A couple of weeks ago I preached on depression and suicide and what happened at the end of the sermon broke my heart. I asked people to bow their heads and close their eyes. I then asked those dealing with depression to raise their hands. About half of the room raised their hands. I then asked if anyone is dealing with suicidal thoughts to please raise their hands and look at me. The number of hands that went up was heartbreaking. Way more than I would have ever imagined.
Churches need to be addressing and discussing depression and suicide. The enemy truly is on the prowl seeing who he can devour.
Depression and suicidal thoughts are relatives that don’t live too far apart. One seems to be the instigator and the other wants to take action. I know, I’ve been there. I was there, and in my moment of despair I realized the enemy has no mercy on me. He truly wants to kill, steal, and destroy me, and you for that matter.
Depression and COVID-19
None of us could have predicted what was going to take place in 2020. Did you consider murder hornets, Coronavirus, unemployment, or isolation as part of your plan for 2020? Probably not. A lot has happened. In fact, we might look back on 2020 as a year of trauma. Not to mention the everyday life circumstances on top of that: broken relationships, loss of loved ones, a cancer diagnosis, and the list can go on.
This trauma has led a lot of us into despair. We are anxious and depressed. We live in a world that seems to be unraveling. And we might be here today and wonder, will things get better? I will tell you, you are not alone.
In a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 24% of people asked admitted they now suffer from depression related to Coronavirus and 30% report feelings of General Anxiety Disorder.
According to the data, the pandemic affects people aged 18 to 29 more than other groups, with 42% reporting depression related to COVID-19. The second most affected age group is people aged 30 to 39 with 34% reporting anxiety and 28% reporting depression. This is juxtaposed to the group most likely to catch coronavirus, 70-79 year olds, at 12% depressed and 11% reporting anxiety.
Among those in lower economic positions, the Census Bureau reports, “When asked how often they had worried in the previous week, less than 6 percent earning $150,000 or more a year responded affirmatively, and 60 percent hadn’t worried at all. In contrast, a third of those earning less than $25,000 a year reported worrying nearly every day, with 32 percent not worrying at all.”
Don’t Do It
Depression and Suicide
- Depression is the leading cause of disability in Americans 15-44.
- The US experiences $210 billion in lost earnings annually because of mental illness.
- Depression is the #3 workplace issue in the US.
- Suicide is the #2 leading cause of deaths in the US for ages 15-44.
- 250,000 American survive suicide annually
- There is one suicide death every twelve minutes in the US
- As many people in America die from suicide as breast cancer
- Around 50,000 people died from suicide last year
- Veterans 50-59 have the highest suicide rate.
These statistics break my heart. If you are reading this please, “Don’t Do It.” I understand that you can’t see past today. I understand what it’s like to have no hope and to be in a valley of despair. It feels like you are in a darkroom with no doorknob in sight, but please don’t do it.
Here are five things I want to tell you:
1) God loves you.
Sit on that truth. It’s hard to believe and comprehend when you are in the middle of your despair. But it is true. The enemy will tell you that God is nowhere to be found. He will tell you that God doesn’t care because He hasn’t healed you of depression and suicidal thoughts. But the enemy is a liar. God loves you.
2) God has a plan for you.
You can’t see it. You don’t feel it. You probably don’t believe it, but He does. When I was in my moment of despair, I wanted out. I had no hope and no longer cared. Now being on the other side of it, I am so glad I didn’t go through with it. I am so glad I didn’t listen to the enemy. I couldn’t see it or feel it but God did have a plan for me. I would have missed out on so much if I believed the lies. God has a plan for you.
3) People love you.
It’s true. You have people who care for you. You have people who love you and want the best for you. The enemy will tell you that no one cares and will entice you to believe that truth. He wants to lead you to your destruction. Please, don’t do it. People love YOU.
4) God can use this.
You can’t see it now, but our struggles and pain are not in vain. I’ve once heard it said that, “God doesn’t waste a tear.” You can get through this valley and one day truly see how what the enemy used for harm, God can use for good, for the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20). Don’t give up. God can use this.
5) Please get help.
I was embarrassed and ashamed of where I was when I was 18. But I needed a support system that could walk with me through my tough times. The enemy works in isolation and he wants to isolate you so he can destroy you. Please get help. You are not alone in this battle.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255.
 National Network of Depression Centers 2019 statistics. https://nndc.org/facts/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9YqI84uT5wIVvf7jBx0gqw5OEAAYASAAEgLv4PD_BwE