HENDERSON, N.C. — A Christian author is challenging other Christians to reach out to the youth around them following a tragic story out of North Carolina that centers around the suicide of a teenage girl.
“Jesus loved people enough to go into their midst. He went in their homes. He confronted their sin. He sought out the lost sheep and saved them,” writes Tim Brown of Freedom Outpost in a recent article. “He’s still doing it today through His Church, but the question I have is, is He doing it through you? Are you reaching out to the younger generation and bringing them to the truth, or are you too busy watching grown men in tights chase a ball made of pigskin?”
Brown’s comments were made in light of the death of 16-year-old Amber Cornwell, who was found hanged in her bedroom closet last month. Cornwell was an honor roll student at East Henderson High School, a tennis player and a member of the All County Chorus, but her mother and her friends stated that she had faced bullying since the sixth grade.
“The boys like her and the girls hate her, and that’s not fair,” her mother Kim told reporters. “All the time, it was always something. We thought it had calmed down.”
“They were just calling her names,” friend Sierra Crochet added. “And called her names and said she had no future and had nothing going for her.”
“They were really mean, they’d say stuff to her face, behind her back,” Stephanie Hernandez concurred. “They’d message her on Facebook.”
Cornwell’s mother states that the teen went out with her boyfriend the night that she hung herself, and returned in a happy mood. But later that evening, Cornwell posted a chilling message on Facebook.
“If I die tonight, will anyone cry?” she wrote for her final status.
Cornwell’s parents found her the next morning hanged in her closet. Her body was laid to rest on Dec. 26., and fellow classmates also held a candlelight ceremony in remembrance of Cornwell at the high school.
Tim Brown of Freedom Outpost said that incidents such as these are reminders that youth need ministry, too. He pointed to speaker Bradlee Dean, who visits public schools across America to speak about U.S. history, the Constitution and the gospel. Brown said that Dean told him that he believes most older members of society don’t care about youth and that it “shows in their lack of love for them.”
Brown remarked that each Christian should be doing their part in their own community to reach out to the youth around them.
“I’ve personally seen how the older generation will get together and do a lot of talking about how they can get Bradlee into a school, often without any resolve,” he said. “Yet, they won’t invite kids in their neighborhood or from their church over to their own homes to talk and hangout with them.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24, and results in an estimated 4,600 deaths each year.
“A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9–12 in public and private schools in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey,” the government organization outlines on its website. “Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at emergency departments across the U.S.”