Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged teachers to “talk to teens about suicide and love them out of considering suicide as a solution to their pain.” Elder Rasband spoke to 50,000 seminary and institute teachers in a devotional on February 8, 2019.
Teen suicide is a crisis reaching all around the world. He said, “we must all face this issue. As members of [the Church], we must commit to do everything we can to reshape the thinking that suicide is an answer, a response worth considering.”
For those seeking help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also provides suicide prevention resources at suicide.lds.org (also in the Gospel Library app in the Life Help section).
“There is no template for who is at risk,” Elder Rasband said. “These youth play the trombone, sing in the choir, play on soccer teams, or bag groceries after school. They come to church—some of them—they are the friends of those who come to your classes, though some have long since set aside religion for themselves.”
The adversary is “not content with what he has carved out of the kingdom of God on earth so far,” Elder Rasband admonished. “He wants more. He is aggressive and ruthless. He is targeting those in your care; we are seeing in some their ‘hearts failing them for fear’ (Luke 21:26).”
Though suicidal thoughts can come to anyone, Elder Rasband counseled teachers to be alert to several common suicidal threads that they may encounter among their students. These include “disappointment, a botched quiz, a breakup, a string of bullying, academic stress, and what we might call adolescent misery.”
Elder Rasband said a teacher’s best approach to fostering hope is to tap into the healing and enabling power of the Savior.
“Christ’s enabling power is manifest in the simplicity that He is there for us. Come what may, He will be with us, He will comfort us, and He will heal us if we come to Him and draw upon His power to save us. Most often He heals the wounded heart,” Elder Rasband said. “How does it happen, we ask? By the power of the Atonement exercised in our lives today, not at the end before the final judgment, but every day as we seek to be like Him.”
- Newsroom article “Apostle Tells Educators to be ‘First Responders’ to Students Considering Suicide“
- Watch a recording of the broadcast, “An Evening with Elder Ronald A. Rasband“
- Resources about suicide on LDS365.