Letter to the Editor:  Thoughts on Teenage Suicide

Today, teenagers everywhere seem to look at suicide as a way out.  In the old days, suicide was never heard of.

For some, it may be a way out of hopelessness, out of starvation of the body and starvation of the soul.

I read a study of student suicides at an Eastern college.  Students and suicides and student environments were neatly quantified in numbers and percentages but the study did not offer any suggestions that might improve the situation.

One suicide is one too many.  Thatís my simple arithmetic.  I donít need to quantify the problem beyond that.  What we, all of us, as human beings, must do is understand the problems our teenagers face.  We must help them find their path when they cannot find it by themselves.

We have lost the sense of community we once had.  Everyone contributed in some way to the common good of the tiospaye.  Everyone depended on everyone else to have a good life.  We no longer have that.  Too many depend on their government check and rely on themselves for everything else.

Many feel left alone.  They see themselves as individuals but not as part of a community.  We know violence, distrust, alcoholism, emotional poverty, teenage pregnancies and gangs.  We learn much of that from television.  Few still have grandparents who teach them the old values.  I believe thatís where it must start again. 

I ask all elders to reach out to the children and teenagers where you live.  It may not only help them but help you, too.  You will gain the respect of those you care for, and they will know they are not alone.


Author:          Jeff - December 21, 2009
Publisher:     Lakota Country Times
- planned publishing date: December 29, 2009  (delayed because of snow emergency)
- actual publishing date:  January 05, 2010