NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Suicide is the leading cause of death for those ages 10 to 17, and one of the leading causes of death for Tennessee teens.
While researchers can't pinpoint one exact reason why suicide rates are so high among young people, one state representative says the cause includes "messages that are coming from the political left."
State Representative Robin Smith (R-Hixon) is also a writer for the online journal The Patriot Post.
Smith's article is titled "Youth Suicide: The Fruit of Leftist Indoctrination."
In an email, Rep. Smith says the article supports that teens are bombarded with messages of despair. In the article Smith wrote, "Of late, the message has been that the Earth will cease to exist in less than 12 years because of climate change. Our kids are told that it’s their right to determine their own gender rather than live within the capacity of their biological being while maximizing their gifts and talents. Too many students hear that life is a wad of cells until a baby is outside the mother’s womb and wanted by both the biological donors — formerly called the mother and father. Students of all ages hear that part of growing up is being sexually active, having access to abortion as a type of birth control and part of a female’s health care, and that choosing a life of discipline, maturity, and restraint is not possible — much less a characteristic of an individual living at the fullest extent of their “rights.”
Her article has caused some disagreements on social media, but mental health professional say there isn't just one clear cause of suicide.
"There’s no one reason, we know that no one takes their life for one specific reason, it’s usually a combination of a lot of different things. What we got to do is empower our youth, let our youth know there is support and there’s help out there," said Scott Ridgway with Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.
Smith tells us "I reject the thought that such a large percentage of our youth has mental health issues. I believe, instead, they need to find hope. Hope is not constantly feeding fear and despair."
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website .
This story was originally published by Kelsey Gibbs at WFTS.