After a serious suicide attempt, "Justin" was admitted to hospital for in-patient psychiatric treatment. He had many problems. Aside from feeling that his life was not worth living, he was failing in school, getting into fights with classmates, stealing, and trying to cope with the fact that his parents had filed for divorce three months before.

Many people think that childhood and adolescence are "the best years of one's life," characterized by carefree living, with no serious responsibilities to weigh one down. The reality can be very different. Kids today face pressures that sometimes overwhelm them, leaving them unable to reach their potential in later life. Their challenges may range from intentional and learning problems to abuse issues, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and family discord, to name only a few.

Justin was crying out for help long before lie came to the attention of the emergency department of the hospital in his community. Both his parents cared about him, but they never really sensed the depth of Justin's inner turmoil. Neither did his teachers.

Most people don't think of nine-year-old kids as wanting to die. However, even mild emotional problems, left untreated, can multiply well into the teen and young adult years, significantly crippling anyone's ability to become the person God created them to be. Prevention, assessment, and counselling are all effective means for enabling tomorrow's generation to reach their full potential.

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