The CDC released a heartbreaking and incredibly concerning report Thursday. The national suicide rate has climbed 25% since 1999. But that’s just an overall average.

North Dakota has witnessed the most tragic climb in suicides at 57.6%. Vermont has seen a 48.6% increase, Utah? 46.5%. Other states whose suicide rates have crept over 40%: South Dakota, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Kansas, and Idaho.

In 25 states, the suicide rate rose over 30%.

The fruit of our current culture is death.

There are numerous contributing factors. How we’ve stigmatized pain management, mental health, the confusion involved in individual identity and self-valuation, social isolation ushered in by rapid technological advances, a generation raised unable to regulate emotions, economic conditions, the petering out of long-standing industry, and the list goes on.

The CDC report clearly states that the suicide epidemic is “more than a mental health concern.”

Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Relationship problems or loss, substance misuse; physical health problems; and job, money, legal or housing stress often contributed to risk for suicide. Firearms were the most common method of suicide used by those with and without a known diagnosed mental health condition.

At the risk of sounding reductionistic on an issue that’s clearly complex, we’d be remiss to brush off how rapidly our sense of community has decayed and how quickly we’ve accepted social isolation as our new and preferable norm.

We were not designed to live in social isolation in front of glowing screens, we were designed to be part of a body, a family, and purpose much bigger than ourselves.

Our struggles and trials are amplified in the echo chambers of our thoughts where there’s no sounding board to hug us and remind us that this too will pass.

Don’t ever give into the lie that this world would be better off without you. You were wonderfully made for reasons you (and we) can’t possibly comprehend and probably won’t in this life.

Do not let your pride convince you to suffer in silence. It is both strong and courageous to take the risk of reaching out, especially from the throes of deep, throbbing pain.

If you are hurting, struggling, worried, concerned, anxious — you are not alone.

We’re all on this ride together for better or worse, and I know I speak for many when I say we’d much rather have you on this crazy journey with us.

We must undo this mess of a culture we’ve allowed before it is truly too late. Yelling, witty comebacks, snarky zings, and other keyboard warrioring tools won’t cut it. We have to get off the couch, shut the laptop, and enter society for this one. Combating suicide requires relationship and personal interaction.

We must be vigilant in doing our part to speak love, to speak life.

Learn the warning signs of suicide to identify and appropriately respond to people at risk. Find out how this can save a life by visiting:

If you need someone to talk to and are not comfortable or do not have someone to reach out to, Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Every life is precious. Especially yours.


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