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Q & A with Matthew Sleeth About Mental Health and Suicide


Author of Hope Always: How to Be a Force for Life in a Culture of Suicide

Ed: We’ve heard suicide described as an epidemic in the U.S. Would you share some of the facts about the prevalence of this issue among Americans today?

Matthew: Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds.

It’s the tenth leading cause of death in adults.

Females are twice as likely to attempt suicide.

Males are four times as likely to die by suicide.

Over the past two decades, suicide rates have risen about 35 percent—and that’s not counting the people who die by overdose. When people take fentanyl (which is 50 times more potent than heroin) or carfentanil (which is 10,000 times more potent than heroin), they are—at best—ambivalent about waking up the next morning. If we include overdose deaths and adjust for medical advances over the past century (overdose-reversing drugs, antidepressants, 911, and ER systems, etc.), our suicide rate would be at least twenty times higher than it was during the Great Depression.

We are experiencing the greatest depression the world has ever known.

And while murders dominate our headlines, most people don’t realize that there are 2.5 times more suicides in the U.S. than homicides.

These facts should serve as a wake-up call for the church. God is always for life, never for death. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God put eternity in our hearts. Satan is the one who says we shouldn’t even try to make it through the day.

Our Father never, ever, ever wants us to choose death. Jesus died on the cross so that we would have life and have it more abundantly. It is in the nature of God that we share that message, and it is in Satan’s nature that we hide it.

Ed: What is the message that would be helpful to church leaders regarding the …

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