The mood in the room is quiet, intense. “Okay,” Mitch Anthony tells the 30 students assembled at the rap session, “if you’re here just to cut a class, get out.” No one moves. “So, I assume everyone is here because you really are struggling with what I talked about earlier in the assembly, and you really want help.
“You heard me talk in the assembly about how, when I was 17, I thought of killing myself, because I didn’t feel I had any reason to live. And you heard me talk about another time, when I was older, how someone had hurt me so bad I didn’t feel I could go on living. How many of you have thought about killing yourself?” Hands raised. Maybe 90 percent.
“How many of you knew how you were going to do it?” More hands raised. Maybe 60 percent. “Who wants to tell me about it?”
The stories come out, haltingly. Sexual abuse. Neglect. Loneliness. Repeated abandonment. Mitch listens, nods, gives feedback. Then he gets the group onto an all-important question: “What positive things have you found that help you cope with frustrations? Who do you turn to?” Without realizing it, many of those young people quietly cross a line from death to life as they focus on positive problem-solving.
The War Continues
And so Mitchel Anthony’s war on suicide continues. In this case, his tactic is a high school prevention program that goes beyond educating teenagers, teachers, and parents about suicide’s warning signs. He also talks about improving self-image and teaches coping skills, thus attacking the root of the problem.
For Mitch Anthony, it all started when he stumbled upon a tremendous opportunity to share the gospel while pasturing a church ...1
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