How to help a friend who no longer wants to live

The UN has expressed concern about the increase in the number of adolescents taking their own lives. This is a public health problem that requires immediate attention.

September 26, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes

(Unsplash / Mattheus Ferrero)

Adolfo is a 19-year-old young man who has just lost a friend of the same age. The cause: suicide.

Just hearing this word makes your skin crawl. It is a harsh reality that shakes the soul. Adolfo and his friends are shocked by this event for which they can find no explanation. Some of them have talked about doing something about it and getting out of the pain and confusion with concrete actions.

The UN has expressed concern about the increase in the number of adolescents taking their own lives worldwide. This is a public health problem that requires immediate attention.

It is imperative to promote mental health. Experts recommend strengthening family ties in love and care. They also discourage the consumption and use of violence and vices in general. 

We should consider that there have been cases of suicide without external factors that could trigger them, but it should be known that 10 % of adolescents suffer from endogenous depression and are not given adequate care and treatment.  

What can we do in the face of this reality?

  • Be prepared on the subject and have at hand the telephone numbers of professional help in your city or country. In the United States, you can dial 988. Deepen on the meaning and value of life.  
  • Sowing illusion! "Illusion is not the content of happiness but its wrapping", says Julián Marías. To have illusions is to live forward looking towards the future and consequently to have goals. Illusion calls for optimism, which is a fundamental basis for mental health.
  • To provoke gatherings of friends with altruistic purposes, not convivial gatherings with an excess of sensations, but others that encourage the noblest in their hearts. Joy and service are two virtues that should be the protagonists of youthful environments.
  • Lower screen time and access screens only for specific purposes of study or positive food for the mind.
  • Professional help is important, but even more important is a harmonious family life. When this is not the case, the group of friends becomes a fundamental factor of self-esteem and self-worth. As friends, be more aware of each other, give each other time, conversation and affection. 
  • Search for God. There are many who fill the longing of the human soul to encounter a good God who loves them unconditionally. 

Our world lives a practical atheism that disappoints young and old. It is necessary to return to God! Let us begin to pray as a family and show the beauty of faith by our example. 

Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation "Amoris Laetitia"he instructs us: 

Parents who want to accompany the faith of their children are attentive to their changes, because they know that the spiritual experience is not imposed but proposed to their freedom. It is fundamental that children see in a concrete way that prayer is really important for their parents. For this reason, moments of family prayer and expressions of popular piety can have a greater evangelizing power than all the catecheses and speeches. I would especially like to express my gratitude to all mothers who pray unceasingly, as St. Monica did, for their children who have strayed from Christ (Amoris Laetitia, 288).

The authorLupita Venegas

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