I don’t know when, teenage suicides have changed from occasional to normal, from news to data, and have become more and more serious social phenomena in the world. According to the World Health Organization, among adolescents aged 15-19, suicide is the second leading cause of death for girls and the third leading cause of death for boys. Is it too much social pressure and too fast pace? Or is it that the parents and the school didn’t manage it well? Or is the child too glassy? All these remind us that many teenagers have deviations in their cognition of “life” itself. Someone said: Everyone has 100 suicidal thoughts, but 101 reasons not to commit suicide. Then we hope that life education can add weight to this extra “1”.
Global teen suicide rate hits record high
There was once a Japanese news article, a girl in the second grade of middle school asked: Please teach me a way to commit suicide without causing trouble to others. “I want to commit suicide, but I worry about causing too much trouble to those around me.” For example, it may cost parents a lot of money, or it may make people mistakenly believe that they committed suicide because of being bullied, causing trouble for teachers. What’s even more exaggerated is that in order to prevent her parents from spending money on her own death, she actually worked hard to save all her funeral money.
In Asia, South Korea has consistently had the highest suicide rate. According to statistics, by 2022, the youth suicide rate in South Korea will increase by 44% within three years. Experts pointed out that if a mechanism to reduce suicide cannot be created, the future of South Korea will be dark. The situation in other countries is not optimistic. Juvenile suicide rates have also risen sharply in Australia, the UK and Mexico, according to statistics. More than one in six children aged seven to 16 in England and Wales may be suffering from a mental illness, a National Health Service study has found. The suicide rate among 15-19 year olds is growing even faster, with 6.4 suicides per 100,000 people in 2021.
Britain is one of the first countries in the world to carry out life education, and has created mobile learning centers such as the “Life Education Bus” to conduct circular teaching in local primary schools on a regional basis.
The United States is even worse, with 11.2 suicides per 100,000 people. Data show that in the 20 years from 2000 to 2020, the suicide rate in the United States has increased by 30%, and suicide has become the second leading cause of death among adolescents since 2014. The Golden Gate Bridge in the United States is the site of the most suicides in the world. In the documentary “The Bridge”, the camera was set up in the grass next to the bridge for a long time, waiting for those who jumped off the bridge, and interviewed the few survivors-in fact, they regretted the moment they were in the air , I realized that the predicament that I always thought could not be changed could be solved. So they tried their best to adjust their posture in order to survive.
The same world, the same blue sky, in their youth, there is hidden pressure and pain that we can’t imagine! In the face of the growing phenomenon of youth suicide around the world, we should reflect on what is crushing children?
How to carry out life education in foreign countries
”Life education” was first proposed by American scholar Jay Donner Waters in 1968: “Life education is an educational activity that prepares students for a happy and successful life, and is an educational activity aimed at improving students’ spiritual life. Educational activities.” It is a kind of whole-person education (education for the harmonious development of people in many aspects), which should include the whole process from birth to death and all aspects involved in this process. Realize the cognition of “I”, “nature” and “society” on the basis of life.
American life education mainly has four sections: death education, setback education, character education and health education. For example, in death education, students need to understand the laws of life, including birth, growth and development, aging and death, etc.; they must understand funeral customs; they must understand the ethical and moral issues brought about by suicide and euthanasia. For the topic of death, Americans chose to face it head-on. Some schools even require students to write their own epitaphs. When writing “Epitaph”, students will naturally think: When I die, how do I hope others will evaluate me? How can I live my life without regretting it? During this process, students will think about their life mission and ultimate vision, which is especially important for children to realize their life value.
The United Kingdom is also one of the earliest countries in the world to carry out life education. It hopes to cultivate active citizens through life education, which can not only realize personal value, but also promote national progress. They set up a proprietary curriculum system for life education, focusing on civic education, supplemented by personal, social and health education. Formal courses shall be established and included in compulsory courses in middle schools, and the teaching hours must account for more than 5% of the total courses. At the same time, the infiltration education is used to emphasize the integration with other disciplines. For example, English literature classes often use Shakespeare’s works, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”, etc. These works themselves involve issues such as the meaning of life.
Germany’s understanding of life education is “death preparation education” and “kindness education”, highlighting the philosophical core of “living to death”. Through death education, let students understand the value and meaning of life, cherish life and face death calmly. And combine the country’s death-related literary works, musical works, and philosophical works to influence the values of young people.
”Yu Yu Education” is one of the important contents of life education in Japan. It advocates “love life and choose to be strong”, and it is proposed in response to the fragility of Japanese teenagers and the suicide incidents of teenagers. “Yuyu Education” believes that one of the main contents of loving life is to live in harmony with nature and to love other lives.
Swedish life education is known for its open-minded attitude. The teacher will let the children touch the belly of the pregnant woman, tell them how a person is born, and let the children understand what life is. In addition, Swedish schoolchildren are allowed to come into contact with the remains in the mortuary, and at the same time, they are told what a death means to themselves and their loved ones.
In contrast, the field of life education in China is slightly blank and lagging behind. Whether it is the school or the parents, we rarely mention the topic of life with our children, let alone set up special life education courses. We must know that children who grow up in the absence of life education will not only lack a correct understanding of life, but also find it difficult to cherish limited life from the heart.
Be a “gatekeeper” to teenage suicide
Life education does not only rely on schools, but also requires the participation of parents and children. The trinity of “parents-school-child” is interlocking and mutually supportive; we must also learn from the barrel effect and be vigilant about the shortest part to prevent a certain link from becoming The biggest hidden danger.
According to research, in families with serious parent-child conflicts, the risk of suicide among adolescents will increase dozens of times. The National Association of School Psychologists lists family support and a harmonious parent-child relationship as the number one priority to improve adolescents’ resistance to setbacks. Therefore, parents are the first and decisive link in life education. If you have read “A Good Mother Is Better Than a Good Teacher” by Yin Jianli, you will find how important family education is to whether children can grow up healthily. Parents are the most important first teachers for children. I sincerely suggest that parents be included in the training system of life education.