“Tomorrow needs you”
In 2017 Molly Russell aged 14 took her own life. Reporting on the BBC news on Tuesday evening her Father, Ian Russell gave an emotional interview saying: “I have no doubt that Instagram helped kill my daughter. She had so much to offer and that’s gone.” I apologise for not easing you into this contemplation on this Friday morning, but there is no easy way of talking about the stark reality of suicide. I have to admit after watching Molly’s father’s emotional interview on Tuesday evening I had difficulty sleeping, as a parent you worry about your children, indeed young people in general. The emotional impact of that interview caused me to question what are the church doing to talk about suicide, about the messages that a whole generation of people read and believe on social media. My answer to my own question starts with this contemplation today.
I started with trying to find out some statistics. An article in the Guardian highlighted the increasing number of teenage deaths sparking fresh concern about the deepening crisis in young people’s mental health. The Office of National Statistics data shows there were 177 suicides among 15- to 19-year-olds in 2017, compared with 110 in 2010 and more than in every year since then except 2015, when the toll was 186. More recent statistics show that it’s not just the teenagers but since the tuition fees have increased there has been an increase in suicide in students at University. Sadly, just last year in our own town, Ormskirk, two people committed suicide within two miles of our own Church.
And so I am left with the question what can we do as a church to get the message out that ‘Tomorrow needs you?”
We know from Jesus’ own example He was always for those on the margins, the people who struggled with the pressure of life. Jesus had time for people and encouraged them to see that they were loved and valued. In Luke’s Gospel we read “Are not five sparrows sold for two 2copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
I pray that by reading this contemplation you might be prepared to highlight the issues. Listening to people who are suffering from depression, anxiety is a start. Working to destigmatise mental illness is another way forward.
So why not join me in the conversation, highlight the issues and more importantly tell people they are valued, loved and precious in God’s sight, take time to tell someone today that ‘Tomorrow needs you!”