Chapter OneNOT WORTH LIVING
1. What do you think of when you hear the word suicide?
2. What do you think makes life worth living?
3. Below are five things that might cause someone your age
to take his or her life. Circle the one that you think is the
most common. What is one way to handle each of these
problems other than suicide?
a. Going through parents' divorce
b. Thinking no one cares
c. Breaking up with someone
d. Being abused by a parent
e. Feeling worthless and unimportant
f. Failing their classes
g. Not knowing what to do after high school
4. Jason's parents got divorced when he was nine-now he's 16. He feels unloved and
unwanted by both parents. He sent you an e-mail saying he "just can't take it" and
wants to die. You've known Jason for two years, but had no idea he felt this depressed.
What can you do?
Take the e-mail to a school counselor.
Talk to my parents or guardians about it.
Talk to my youth pastor about it.
Laugh it off.
Tell myself he didn't mean it-he only wanted attention.
Delete it and forget about it.
Tell Jason's parents.
Call the police.
Talk to Jason about his feelings.
Pray for someone else to help him.
5. Read each of the Bible verses below, and complete the statements in your own words.
Psalm 23:4-6 When I feel down, God can-
Galatians 6:2 I have a responsibility to-
Hebrews 4:15-16 Christ understands how I feel because-
NOT WORTH LIVING [suicide]
Suicide is a real and serious issue in the lives of
teenagers today. Suicide is one of the top five causes
of death among teenagers and young adults. Now
more than ever, we must address the issues that lead
to suicide, such as depression and loneliness.
Be sure to monitor this discussion carefully-this
is a heavy issue in the lives of some teenagers.
Be sensitive to your group members and their
responses to the discussion.
Start by having your kids make a list, either as a
group or individually, of issues that teenagers deal
with that get them down. Prompt them by asking
questions like-what stresses them out, what pressures
they face, or what makes them want to give
up. List these issues and talk about which ones are
the most difficult to deal with. Why might some people
want to end their lives for these issues? How
would your kids deal with these issues? What makes
kids their age feel that theirs no way out?
THE DISCUSSION, BY NUMBERS
1. Have your kids list their thoughts on the word
suicide. You may want to list these on a whiteboard
or poster board. Be extra sensitive to the
fact that some of them may have known and
loved a person who has committed suicide. Your
kids may have many emotional responses-from
guilt and self-blame, to anger and resentment.
Take the time to talk about each of these
reactions to suicide.
2. You'll be able to learn a great deal about each of
your kids and their beliefs from their response.
You may want to make another list of what makes
life worth living. What makes their lives exciting? What do they think the purpose of life is?
3. Discuss these reasons for suicide and ask your
kids share some alternatives for dealing with
them. Have them evaluate if the alternatives are
effective or practical. Why or why not? Point out
that there are alternatives-wanting out or
escaping a problem doesn't fix it. Challenge your
kids to stop and think about the problem. Is it
worth ending their life over?
4. Use this tension-getter to talk about ways
Christians should respond to a hurting person.
Some of your kids might have different reactions.
You may want to have them share them.
Emphasize that even Christians deal with
thoughts of suicide-they are not above feeling
helpless, out of control, and depressed.
5. Ask your kids to share their sentences. Stress
that our responsibility as Christians is to support
and encourage others-even those who aren't in
our group of friends.
In your wrap-up, be careful not to gloss over any
problems or issues that your kids are facing. Their
problems, like your problems, bring worry and concern.
Using Hebrews 4:15-16, point out that Christ
understands our every problem. He was human and
he felt the same emotions we feel-he knows how
we feel. Challenge your kids to lay out their problems
and ask Christ for peace and strength.
Point out again that everyone has feelings of
worthlessness and frustration. Encourage them to
find someone to vent to-either a parent, teacher,
counselor, pastor, or you.
Close with some suggestions about recognizing
someone who is seriously in danger of taking his or
her own life. What are some signs that your kids can
look for? Visit a few online organizations for more
information-Suicide Voices Awareness of Education
(www.save.org) and the American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org).
Finally, point out that depression and feelings of
helplessness are not sinful. Depression is a clinically
diagnosed disease that affects millions of adults
and teenagers each year. Encourage them to talk
with a trusted adult to find help. Visit the National
Foundation For Depressive Illness, Inc.
(www.depression.org) or find more information at
Ask your kids do some on-line research on suicide
and depression. What can they find about teenage
suicide, including causes and casualty rates
among men and women? What are the types of
depression, the causes of depression, and ways to
What do your kids hear or see in the media on
depression and suicide? Maybe show a short clip
of a TV show of a teenage problem and discuss
ways to handle the problem. How does the media
portray suicide and depression? What TV shows or
movies have they seen that addresses these
issues? What have they read or seen on the
issues of suicide and how teenagers handle their