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There have been many sensational media reports about cults which have committed suicide in recent years. Not half as much is mentioned about those who commit suicide as part of "mainstream society".

A recent radio report commented that 94 Australians attempt suicide every day. Why does Australia have one of the highest suicide rates in the world?

Australia is a wealthy country. We are taught from a young age that we should be strong and independent. Most Australian men in particular rarely admit to any weaknesses or share their concerns with others when they are having problems.

Wealth gives the illusion that we are independent of one another, when in fact we all depend on the activities of many others to sustain us each day.

Almost anyone can find enough money to get themselves a flat and live independently of others. But it takes a lot of time and effort to learn to live with others and to co-operate as part of a fully functioning family unit. For many, it seems easier to withdraw into selfishness, or even to take drugs to blot out relationship problems.

So... can we mention God? Australians tend to talk as though he doesn't exist. Aussies say God is an outdated superstition, for weak people who need a crutch in their lives. They talk as if money created the world and technology will save it. They believe that humanity can solve its own problems without reference to God. All these ideas we hear from childhood, and many of us hardly know or care what it is that we actually believe.

Despite our beliefs -- or our lack of them -- disasters can still strike. A loved one can still die. A relationship may still break down. Or we could get the sack from work. Suddenly these false beliefs will not help us.

If there is no God, no life after death, no meaning to this present existence; if life is full of trouble and pain, then what is the point of living? And this is exactly what many of us end up believing.

When human resources fail to help, and when there is nothing else to turn to, then many Australians take the next, and final, step in our belief system; they commit suicide.

But this does not have to be so! When everything else fails, please remember that God loves you. Don't be too proud to turn to him in your hour of need. There is nothing so bad that you have done that you cannot be forgiven for it. And there is nothing so painful or difficult that he cannot bring some meaning and purpose to it.

Ask God to help you make the right choices, and to fill up your empty soul with his Spirit of Love and Peace. He promises to answer your cry.

After you have done that, it helps to talk to someone else about what you are going through. A problem shared is a problem halved. You can talk to the people who gave you this article.

(See also Fingers in Their Ears.)

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