End of world fears have sent some teens and adults into a state of anxiety and despair so deep that they have considered taking their own lives.
David Morrison, an astronomer and senior scientist with NASA, operates “Ask an Astrobiologist” for the space agency, in which he responds to astrological questions from everyday citizens. But lately, he says, people have become preoccupied with the purported Mayan Apocalypse, December 21, 2012.
Recently, Morrison told USA.gov, “At least once a week I get a message from a young person—as young as 11—who says they are and/or will contemplate suicide because of the [alleged] coming doomsday.”
NASA continues to debunk apocalypse myths and warns people against terrifying the mentally vulnerable, “frightened children and suicidal teens who truly fear the world may come to an end,” LiveScience.com reported on November 28 after an online NASA session over Google+ designed to quell doomsday fears.
While the supposed apocalypse is based on false information—the Mayan calendar didn’t end on the 21st, but the inconsequential Mayan calendar cycle, the 13th b’ak’tun, did—some people remain terrified that the world will cease to exist within the next couple days.
An article in the Examiner advises parents in how to talk to their children to assuage their fears. The Portland, Oregon-based “parenting” author recommends speaking with confidence—not fueling kids’ nightmares with possibilities or uncertainty. She also stresses the importance of making future plans and sticking to a comforting bedtime routine.