Teen suicide is one of the saddest things I can think of. We had an awful run of teen suicides in Summit County a couple years ago and it made my heart ache. Did you know that there are 3,041 suicide attempts EVERY DAY in the USA by teens in grades 9-12?! More teenagers die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. Let that awful truth sink in.
Teen suicide has increased 70-77% since 2006. That’s when my kids were born – it is hard to grasp how or why teen suicide has increased 70-77% since my children were born! Overall, suicide claims more lives in the USA (47,173) annually than homicides (19,510).
Teen suicide is a complex problem that stems from depression, living situations, mental health, and overall low self worth. The Keeper of My Heart is a book that aims to help girls find their worth through the love of God. I highly recommend this book to all girls and teens so that they can reflect on God’s love for them. This is not a substitute for discussing depression or suicidal thoughts with your teen, it is not a substitute for counseling, treatment, or getting to the root of a troubled teen. It is an uplifting resource that will show girls that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by God, the keeper of their heart – something we all need to remember and hold fast to.
This is a sponsored post.
I was able to chat with author of The Keeper of My Heart, Ashley Wichlenski. She has such a passion for helping girls find their self-worth in God – not in receiving the most social media likes, having the perfect Hollywood body, excelling in sports or academics, or being popular. Wichlenski designed this book as love letters from God. In each page, girls will learn that they are wonderfully made and that God’s love pours over them.
Bullying is a huge problem in society. If a teen is the victim of bullying, they are 2-9 times more likely to attempt suicide. Bullying tears down self worth to the point that some kids and teens can’t see a reason to go on and they attempt suicide.
Each letter in the book addresses self confidence by starting off with an affirmation of who they are, “precious one”, “brave girl”, “beautiful girl”, or “sunshine”. This book calls the teen girl who they are, “beautiful one” instead of the negativity they are faced with in the world and on social media that rips their self worth to shreds. I just saw a video last week that I have to share. A high schooler had a class project in which she videoed fellow classmate’s response when she called them beautiful. Their reactions are heartbreaking on so many levels. Some were shocked and giddy. Others lashed out and threatened to ‘cut your face’ because she thought they were not sincere. The majority could not believe someone would call them beautiful, like nobody has ever called them beautiful. How heartbreaking is that? That they don’t know and haven’t been told over and over that they are beautiful and wonderfully made by the creator of the Universe?
Maybe as a mom, you need reminded of this truth too? We are good about beating ourselves up if we don’t feel like we are the perfect mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc, aren’t we? I love the post that our writer, Kelly wrote about 10 Steps to Building Body Confidence, if you struggle with body image, please check it out. Here is another post on fun ways to build self confidence in our children and teens too.
What I love about this book is the positivity of it. This books makes clear the nature of God’s unconditional love—love that is complete, forever, consistent, whole, and without restraint!
“I promise to keep your heart safe and love you forever! You are mine, and I am yours.” I love this promise made in one of the letters. Each letter of the book has scripture to back up the claims like in Lamentations 3:23-25, “God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness… God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.”
There is a place in each chapter for reflection. This is a great way for teen girls to internalize and pour their heart out to God and to accept His promises of love.
Wichlenski says, “Teen suicide rates are sadly soaring at an alarming pace. If we show our teens their worth in Jesus and who they are through His eyes- that they are loved, forgiven, His masterpiece, strong, brave, and worthy, I believe the trend will go down.” She adds, ” It’s up to us as believers to show them the answer. The Keeper of My Heart is a way to show them the unconditional love of Jesus and their worth in Him alone, and can offer them the opportunity to receive hope once again!” Wichlenski is spreading God’s message through The Keeper of My Heart, through motivational speeches at middle and high schools and through videos to share with others who they are through God’s love.
Suicide affects every gender, age, and race. Females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts, experience depression (2X more), and attempt suicide (3X more) than males. Teens in the LGTB community attempt suicide is an astonishing 42.9% more than heterosexual (14,8%). For adult trans, it is 41-61%. This number decreases by 20% for each year a child delays in labeling themselves as LGBT so the push for LGBT in our schools is leading to more suicides, but that is a topic for another post.
What we as parents should do is reinforce to both our girls and boys that they have value, that they are loved, that they are wonderfully made. I love how passionate Wichlenski is in spreading her message of self-worth and empowerment. Pick up a copy for your tween or teen daughter AND her friends today. Encourage your church to lead a small group through the book. Have The Keeper of My Heart on hand for nieces, neighbors, students, and friends that have tween and teenage girls. This is a beautiful step in the right direction, away from the horrible teen suicide rates. We have to do something. We have to show our girls their value. We have to show them that we love them and that God loves them.
Like I said, this book is not a substitute for mental health, counseling, or getting help for current suicide thoughts. Please seek a professional if your tween or teen is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Keep this Suicide Prevention # on hand, they are available 24 hours a day, every day. Call 1-800-273-8255 There is also a Lifeline Chat that is available 24/7.