USA (MNN) — May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s a perfect time to talk with Set Free Ministries about mental health, suicide, and what you can do to help.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 129 people take their life every day. As we reported last year, the national suicide rate has been steadily rising since the late 1990s.
Set Free’s Dean Vander Mey says, “There [are] multiple reasons why the suicide rate keeps going up. But, I think it can all be attributed back to…we’re turning our back on God and now the stats are showing that.
“It’s just kind of proof that you can live life any way you want, but there’s going to be consequences.”
U.S. suicide: a spiritual perspective
Youth suicide tends to get the most media attention, especially given the recent spike and an alleged connection to the Netflix show, ‘13 Reasons Why.’ However, the most recent suicide statistics reveal that middle-aged men have the highest suicide rate.
In Oregon, 90-percent of suicides involve people over 25 years old; many victims are men.
“A lot of it seems to correlate with economics and what happens in economics,” Vander Mey observes.
“When you have men who have worked their whole life, and they think they’re going to have a nest egg and then it all collapses and goes away – that causes a lot of despair.”
This Reuters article also cites a connection between economic stability and suicide rates. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) points to celebrity suicide as a possible trigger event. The NIMH study examined data surrounding Robin Williams’ self-inflicted death in 2014 and its influence on suicides during that time period.
The factors and circumstances leading people to commit suicide vary widely. However, Vander Mey says a spiritual cause is largely unacknowledged and unaddressed. “What I see going on today in the USA is we’re turning our back on God; we’re going secular,” he explains.
“We’re choosing our own path…[and] God will let you do that. The Bible kind of says, ‘Love God or love the world, make your choice.’”
Even when people choose a life path that brings them far away from God’s side, He doesn’t give up on them. That’s why Set Free Ministries exists – to rescue and remind people of the redemption available through Christ. Based in West Michigan, the ministry helps suicidal individuals on a near-daily basis.
“For those contemplating suicide, I would say there’s hope — just know there’s hope.”
The conversation continues tomorrow with a look at warning signs and practical ways to help people who are suicidal.
Header image courtesy of Nathan Cowley via Pexels.