SUICIDE: WHAT CAN WE DO?
Rarely do I ever speak to someone that has not been impacted by this dreaded reality. For most it’s a word we don’t like to use or hear. The very thought of it makes us uncomfortable. However, due to the growing number of surprising suicides it’s time for us all to ask ourselves what can we do to help those struggling with mental health issues.
According to the National Center For Health Statistics the suicide rate has increased nearly 25 percent since 1999. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. In 2017 alone,1,400,000 people attempted suicide. On average there are 129 suicides per day. These suicides typically range from those aged 15 to 85. Meaning, no one’s struggle can be taken lightly.
This is very dear to my heart. I’ve preached the funerals of young children parents never thought would take their own life. I’ve known the middle age man or woman that suddenly couldn’t keep it together anymore. I’ve been at the home of a senior citizen who finally shot themself due to ongoing suffering and complete isolation. At the church I pastor there are people on every other row that have considered suicide. We can’t ignore what is happening all around us. Here are some things I’ve learned we can do to help.
One, never belittle what someone else is going through. They are not crazy for feeling a certain way. They are struggling and need somebody to listen. Let them share how they really feel without you trying to fix them. Let them bear their bleeding heart without judgement. This could be their first step towards healing.
Two, show them you really care. It’s been said, “people don’t care how much you know until they they know how much you care.” Many may listen to someone, but love is an action verb. Pray for them and with them. Check on them frequently if you know they are in a very low place. Be that friend or family member you would want someone to be to you. As a lady once told me “I’m not sure there is anything more powerful than holding a hand.” Make sure they know they have a hand to hold.
Finally, do everything you can to lead them towards hope. There are doctors and medications that can help. There are counselors that can encourage. There are 24/7 hotlines to call. There are support groups that can be found. Most of all, there is a God who always cares and loves them dearly. He sent His only son Jesus to die on a cross to bring us all everlasting hope and peace.
For anyone reading this who feels suicidal. I’m praying for you! Here is the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Call 1-800-273-8255 anytime.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18