Just a few days ago, a friend and prominent member of the Nashville music community lost a son to suicide. A bright young man with his whole life and the promise of a bright future in front of him, loving parents, doting family and all the things that would seem to make any young person feel secure and happy and excited about the years ahead.
Of all the causes of death amongst the younger population the most mind-boggling, mystifying, confusing and heartbreaking one is suicide, and its prevalence even more so.
It's one of the leading causes of death among teenagers, and third among youths from 15-24, staggering statistics with active duty military and veterans and a constant blight in the general population, why this is not a major news story I cannot understand as it needs to be exposed and dealt with.
Clark Flatt of Hendersonville, TN knows the heartbreak of suicide; he lost his son, Jason, in 1987 at the age of fifteen. Clark is still trying to figure out what happened, still suffers the stinging memories and regrets, which never completely go away.
But instead of letting this horrible, life changing incident go painfully by, Clark set out to prevent other parents from going through the same thing. He decided to make the premature death of his precious son become a rallying point for an organization to prevent teenage suicide.
He started an organization called The Jason Foundation and the results have been nothing short of great. They specialize in identifying the danger signs and advising parents, teachers and peers of a teenager in jeopardy to recognize them and get professional help before they reach the point of no return.
The spinoffs have also had far-reaching and meaningful results. A meeting between Clark Flatt of the Jason Foundation and Major General Max Haston, the Adjutant General for the State of Tennessee, resulted in a program called Guard Your Buddy, an icon on the screen of a smart phone where one touch puts an in danger National Guard soldier immediately in touch with a specialist who knows how to talk the soldier down off the precarious precipice they suddenly find themselves on.
The program has already proven to be a lifesaver and the only one of its type that provides instant contact with a health care professional who specializes in suicide intervention.
As I mentioned before, the suicide rate among our returning veterans is totally unacceptable.
That's why it's such a discouraging surprise when the Powers That Be at the Pentagon turned down the Guard Your Buddy program, which could have been implemented in all fifty states for less than five million dollars.
The Pentagon wastes more money than that on a regular basis, five million dollars goes practically nowhere in their world - yet, when presented with a proven suicide prevention program, they turned it down.
I cannot understand suicide. I just can't grasp the level of dark depression that can bring a young person with the whole world at their feet to such a state of mind.
It's so regrettable and so preventable. The Jason Foundation has an in-school program that has been hugely successful and is growing rapidly as schools around the country are realizing that there is something that can be done about this epidemic problem.
But, still the problem is enormous and intimidating and this life-saving program needs to be implemented in every school in the country.
If you have a child or grandchild or even a young acquaintance you feel could be in trouble, please seek professional help - it works, and the lives of young Americans are too precious to gamble on.
And if you'd like to contact a state-of-the-art organization with years of expertise and hands on experience in suicide intervention, not only professional but caring, operated by good people whose only interest is to keep other parents from suffering the hellish pain that they went through, you can contact the Jason Foundation in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
If you have doubts about a loved one, don't wait, get help.
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
What do you think?
God Bless America