Woodford County church blesses backpacks before start of school

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MIDWAY, Ky. (WTVQ) –  Researchers say suicide rates for teen girls and boys in the United States are substantially increasing. New data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows between 2007 and 2015 there was a 31 percent increase in suicides for boys. The rate nearly doubled for young women.

Researchers say the increase could be the result of a lot of things including the opioid epidemic, economic instability and online bullying.

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This is an issue that concerns many parents, especially as their kids get ready to go back to school. One Woodford County church addressed suicide today in a special back-to-school blessing.

Midway Christian Church’s Sunday service was about celebrating the start to a new school year, and blessing the children’s backpacks before they go. Church members explain backpacks become part of a child throughout the school year. They say it is like an extension to their personality.

That’s why church members prayed over the children and their backpacks. Parents say the rising suicide rates among teens worries them.

The church gave the students tags to attach to their backpacks. The tags serve as a reminder that there is a whole group of people who love and support them.

Pastor Heather McColl says this is special time of year for kids because of the many transitions they will make. Pastor McColl says she realizes those transitions do not come without struggle.

Pastor McColl says in recent days, her congregation has come in touch with suicide. She says this is not the first time. Pastor McColl says she hopes, though they may not be a solution, the tags on the children’s backpacks will help remind them that someone is always there for them.

“I can’t say I want to put so much faith into the little tag, but I can’t deny that there’s just a little glimmer of hope, a little glimmer of light, to say that they remember that their family of Faith is walking with them and holding them, even in those darkest days,” said McColl.

Students in Woodford County returns to school on Thursday, August 10th.