This is my last post for National Suicide Prevention Month. The special focus is ended, but the need for encouragement and support goes on. Parents who’ve been crushed by the weight of their child’s death by suicide need huge amounts of ongoing comfort.
Today’s blog is what I would want someone to say to me if my daughter ever takes her life. I’ve come close to losing her numerous times.
Renee, now 29, has battled with addiction, mental health issues, and suicidal thoughts since she was a teenager. Thank God she’s still alive – only by His grace.
But many other parents – thousands upon thousands all over the world – are not so fortunate. I’m dear friends with some of them.
This is my heartfelt letter to you:
Your child’s suicide wasn’t your fault.
Today’s blog is a re-post from July 12, 2014. It’s written by guest blogger, Nick Watts, a father whose son died by suicide a little over three years ago. With beautiful authenticity he shares what the first year was like after this significant loss, what restored him, and where he found hope to go on. If you’ve lost your child to suicide, it is our prayer that you find help and hope from his words.
JORDAN’S BIRTHDAY IS THIS SATURDAY, JULY 12th
It took me eight months to come out of shock after the death of my son. I’ll never forget the morning this past January when I awoke noticing something was different psychologically. Powerfully different.
After a few minutes, I finally realized I had not woken up trying to undo my son’s death – which was a sort of psychological torture I had endured both consciously and subconsciously every minute of every day since he took his life the previous May. It was as though my mind finally exhaled.
I’ll never forget that moment. Truth was slowly having its way with my broken mind & heart.
I’ll never forget the day I discovered my daughter was suicidal. Paralyzed by shock and fear, I was at a loss to know what to do. I didn’t think there was anything other than keeping a constant watch over her. Have you been in my place or are you there now? Maybe it’s not your child. It might be another family member or friend you’re worried about. I thought there was nothing I could do that would make any difference.
But I’ve learned that’s not true. There IS something we can do.
It’s not that hard and it could give them new hope.
It could save their life.
This post is the last in a series about a simple, easy-to-learn three-part process designed to help prevent death by suicide. The process is called QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer.
Developed by Dr. Paul Quinnett of the QPR Institue, the information in these blogs is from a workshop I attended. You can read more about it here: qprinstitute.com
Today I’m addressing the third step, Refer.
You’re worried out of your mind that your son or daughter may be thinking about taking their life. Does it torment you that you don’t know for sure if they’re in danger? Have you been baffled by what to do to keep them safe, other than locking them in their room and keeping a 24/7 vigil? No one can do that for long.
I’ve been in your shoes. I know how horrible it is. I wouldn’t wish that kind of torment on my worst enemy.
This is Part 2 of a series on suicide: warning signs and the QPR method for prevention that was developed by the QPR Institute: qprinstitute.com This is the work of Dr. Paul Quinnett. I learned about it when I attended one of their workshops.
Please read my last two blog posts to familiarize yourself with the warning signs, and the first step of this method, “Question”.
QPR is an acrostic for: Question, Persuade, Refer. Today’s post explains the Persuade step. You can read more about this life-saving technique on QPR Institute’s website.
Saturday, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is for parents who are concerned about their children. What do they need to know about suicide? They need to know there’s something they could do that might make the difference if they suspect their son or daughter is considering taking their life.
That’s great news. I never knew these things when my daughter was struggling.
This is part one of a three part series outlining a potentially life-saving technique called QPR = three simple steps (QPR steps) anyone can learn. It has been very effective across the country.
What is the number one cause of suicide?
When discovered, depression is highly treatable. Complicating factors arise, however, when a person self-medicates with alcohol – a depressant – or drugs. As odd as it sounds, research shows that “once someone decides to end their life, the hours before death are often filled with a kind of chipperness, even blissful calm. This change in mood is a good time to apply QPR.”
Who needs to know this technique? Everyone – not just concerned parents. Please share this information with your friends. Let’s spread the word and save lives.
The 3 steps are:
Question – the person about suicide.
Persuade – the person to get help.
Refer – the person to the appropriate resource.
The first step of asking “the question” is the focus of today’s blog.
Today’s blog was written by Beth Saadati. I first shared it last May. Since September is Suicide Awareness month and I’m focusing on this topic all month, I felt impressed to share it again. The message is powerful and is for anyone, not just parents.
“Given the opportunity, Jenna wouldn’t make the same choice again. But she also wouldn’t want her death to be in vain. She would want us to learn from it so we can live as overcomers. As victors. Her letter and writings are a rare gift.” -Dr. David Cox, counselor
A 14 year-old daughter’s suicide note? A gift? My thoughts reeled the day after Jenna’s death as a few close friends, my husband, and I braced ourselves for the reading of the three-page letter police had discovered on her thumb drive.
In shock, I heard the false accusations that had snaked their way into Jenna’s mind. Since then, I’ve reread the letter a hundred times and silently answered seven of its lies.
Dear Family and Extended Family,
I’m really sorry for leaving you like this. Honestly I am. During the last few months of my life I was incredibly depressed. You just didn’t notice since I put up a good front most of the time.
This is for any parent whose son or daughter struggles with suicidal thoughts or fantasies. Do they struggle with bipolar, depression, PTSD, or schizophrenia? Are you tormented not knowing if they’re safe or not – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless and believe their life doesn’t matter? If so, this is especially for you. The information contained here could be crucial for your child.
This content is from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
The following behaviors may mean someone is at risk for ending their life. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, or if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
If your child exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). A trained individual will take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
These are the warning signs to watch for:
Tomorrow is September 1st. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Next week is National Suicide Prevention week, September 5 – 11. The 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, first held in 2003. Therefore, this month I have decided to dedicate my blogs to this topic.
Suicide. It’s a terrible tragedy with far-reaching ripple effects. Suicides are happening with more and more frequency, especially among teens and young adults. No community or socioeconomic group is immune. When someone takes their life, family and friends are left with more than their share of grief and sorrow, anger and shock. They’re also left with many unanswered questions and unresolved grief.
Why? is one of their biggest questions. The person who ends their life often leaves no letter of explanation to offer answers or comfort. No one will ever know this side of heaven what caused them to make their decision.
Another complicated question is, “What will happen to their eternal soul? Did they go to heaven or not?”
Where are answers to be found for Christians asking these difficult questions?
This is Part 2 of the journey of a former agnostic who was raised in a strong Christian home. T.J., now twenty-eight, shares how he shut God out and fell into the party scene. He told me his story for one reason: to offer encouragement and fresh hope to brokenhearted parents. If God can transform him, then He can transform your child, too.
After a period of hard-partying, downtown clubbing, bar-hopping, shameless liquor, girl-chasing, and unrestrained recreational party drugs, losing his girlfriend and who he thought were close friends, T.J.’s story continues:
I realized how I’d destroyed everything wonderful in my life. And so, I cried out to God in my brokenness and agony—and, for the very first time in my life, I heard Him answer. He picked me up out of the rubble of my self-destruction and from that moment on I promised to never lash out against Him again.
How could I keep pushing Him away after everything He revealed to me and the peace He gave me in the aftermath of what I’d done? And what was it specifically that I had done?
Today is Part 1 of the journey of a former agnostic, raised in a strong Christian home. God transformed him into a passionate follower of Christ. T.J. has eagerly agreed to share his story in an attempt to give hurting parents hope for their son or daughter.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, the deepest, most venomous anger, hatred, and bitterness were eating me alive from the inside out. Nearly a decade of rejecting God had finally caught up with me. The burdens of greed and selfishness were at long last caving in.
I was dying in my heart, and there was no one to blame but me. In that moment I faced one terrifying question: What on earth had I done?
On the outside, my image didn’t add up. Raised in a devout home, I went to a private Christian school, had two amazing parental examples, and was taught to memorize the Bible from a young age. But, by the time I got to high school I’d grown bored with everything that had to do with God and church.
Blah, blah – I knew the stories. Blah, blah – Christ died. Blah, blah – life with God is wonderful. Blah, blah, blah. I was tired of the same old, same old.
So one day, when I was about fifteen-years-old,