Brokenhearted Parents Need Resilience

Are you a resilient person? What is resilience and why do brokenhearted parents need it? The dictionary defines resilience as edited for websitethe ability to recover quickly from adversity, change, or misfortune; becoming adaptable to challenges and serious losses; the ability to be buoyant. The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity. Parents with broken hearts are in great need of this quality – this ability to bounce back from the painful experiences they’ve endured. In other words, emotionally, we need to be like a bouncy ball, piece of elastic or a rubber band, able to be stretched but not break or rip apart. Do you have this quality?

Adapting. Bouncing back. Overcoming. Not easy to do. I couldn’t do it. Not for a long time. In the early years of my journey I felt broken and ripped apart – torn into a million little pieces. Some days were so unbearable I wished I had died. I had to dig deep into my character to find a way to survive  – to not let it destroy me – to overcome.

There are many ways to overcome adversity, to withstand stress and catastrophe. Resilience is the capacity to adapt successfully in the face of threats or disaster. Threats or disaster. Have you faced these? Have you become resilient?

According to PBS’ online magazine, The Emotional Life, “Psychologists have long recognized the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity. Individuals and communities are able to rebuild their lives even after devastating tragedies. Being resilient doesn’t mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness, and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. The road to resilience lies in working through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events. ”

You’re not born with it. Resilience develops as you grow and mature, learning to manage your emotions. It also comes from developing supportive relationships, as well as other beliefs that give strength and courage. The good news is that resilience can be learned and developed throughout your lifetime. If you haven’t had this capacity in the past, you can become resilient.

The Emotional Life reports, Factors that contribute to resilience include:

  • Close relationships with family and friends
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
  • The ability to manage strong feelings and impulses
  • Good problem-solving and communication skills
  • Feeling in control
  • Seeking help and resources
  • Seeing yourself as resilient (rather than as a victim)
  • Coping with stress in healthy ways and avoiding harmful coping strategies, such as substance abuse
  • Helping others
  • Finding positive meaning in your life despite difficult or traumatic events
  • (I would add – getting involved in a support group with others going through similar situations)*

The main factor for me – not listed here – is my faith and trust in God. Through receiving His help and tapping into His strength I have become resilient. I have learned to adapt during times of change and transition. I have recovered from distress and extremely heart breaking challenges.  Because Christ overcame, I have overcome. He made me resilient. He enabled me to bounce back. I was stretched, but in Him I didn’t break. You can, too.

These are a few Bible verses that helped me become resilient:

“The Lord is the everlasting God . . . he gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. . . Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31)

“. . . Weeping may last for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves (helps) those who are crushed in spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)

Eagles in Alaska

What Parents Need to Know About Suicide – Part 4

ship of hopeDo you have a son or daughter who has been suicidal? Were you paralyzed about what to do? Did you think nothing would help? I have good news for you. There is something you can do that just might save their life. This post is the last in a series explaining a simple, easy-to-learn three-part process designed to help prevent death by suicide called QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer. It was developed by Dr. Paul Quinnett of the QPR Institue. You can read all about it on their website:

In this post I will explain the third step of QPR, Refer. If you suspect you are dealing with a suicidal person it’s highly recommended that you build a resource list of the help available in your area: Counselors/mental health providers, behavioral hospitals, the nearest hospital that accepts suicidal patients, a suicide hotline number, etc.  Being prepared can give you more peace of mind and a track to run on if and when you need it. You’ll know who you’re going to call, or where you’re going to take your loved one. This makes a huge difference in a crisis when you can’t think clearly due to the stress.

Dr. Quinnett says there are some general guidelines when you refer someone for help:

– The best referral is when you personally take the person you are worried about to a mental health provider or other professional.

– The next best referral is when the person agrees to see a professional and you know they actually went to the appointment.

– The third best referral is getting the person to agree to accept help, even if in the future.

The QPR institute reports that most people who agree to get help usually keep their word and do it, however, due shame and stigma, some will not. That is why it’s strongly recommended you physically take the person to someone who can help.  If you don’t know where to go call your doctor, a crisis hotline or your local hospital and ask for a referral. Some people want to talk to their own pastor/clergy, counselor – someone they know, rather than a stranger, to help them decide what to do. You could offer to go with them to see this person.

Save this number: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can call them any time of the day or night, 365 days of the year.  Give this number to your child, too.  Be sure they know they’re available 24/7 including holidays.

According to Quinnett, there are three things we need to be courageous – and it does take courage to apply the three steps of QPR:

1) Don’t worry about being disloyal.

2) Don’t worry about breaking a trust.

3) Don’t worry about not having sufficient information to call for help.

You’re trying to save your child’s life. Those things don’t matter at this point. If in doubt, take action.  Don’t wait! Do something! If you really aren’t sure, you can call the Suicide Lifeline number above and talk to a volunteer for guidance. It’s better for your child to be angry with you and be alive, right? You don’t want to have any regrets. One day they’ll forgive you, they may even thank you.

Immediately after applying the three steps of QPR it’s recommended you broaden the “safety net” for the person at risk.  Ask,“Who else would you like to know that you’re feeling this bad?” They may name a family member or friend. Ask for permission to call and let them know. Pull together a team of people who care about your child who will help build safety around them by checking on them regularly, asking how they’re doing, on the alert for warning signs (outlined in part one of this series) – a classmate, co-worker, roommate – someone who sees them on a regular basis.

Your child needs to know you care, you’ll be there for them and that you have hope for their future. Isn’t this what we all need in our dark times?

HOPE. It’s the key that can reduce the risk of  suicide. For me it comes from God.

God, please give our child hope. And us, too. None of us can go on with out it. We look to you as we surrender them to you. Their lives are in your hands.

“Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go . . . for you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord…”  (Psalm 71:3,5 NIV)



What Parents Need to Know About Suicide – Part 3

Compressed for website use 092Are you a parent who has been 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? Did you know that depression is the number one cause of suicide? Have you been baffled by what to do to keep your child safe – other than locking them in their room and keeping a 24/7 vigil over them? I’ve been there and I know it’s one of the worst feelings a parent could ever experience. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

This is part three of a series on suicide – the warning signs and the QPR method for Suicide Prevention that was developed by the QPR Institute:  This is the work of Dr. Paul Quinnett. Please read part one and two of my blog posts to familiarize yourself with the warning signs, and the first step of this method of prevention, “Question”.

QPR is an acrostic for: Question, Persuade, Refer. In this post I will explain the Persuade step. You can read more about this life-saving technique on the QPR Institute’s website mentioned above.

Persuade – This step begins with the simple act of listening. Listening well can save a life. It’s the greatest gift you can give your child. Avoid giving advice, instead do these things: Give your full attention; don’t interrupt; don’t be in a hurry; don’t make judgements or condemn, and tame your own fear so you can focus on the other person. Not easy to do.

After asking the “S” question – “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”listen for the problems they believe their death would solve. Confirm your guesses and suspicions with follow-up questions. If they nod their heads or say”yes”, then, as unlikely as it may seem, you have helped them to find a way to live.  The goal of persuasion is to hear confirmation of your suspicions and then to get help.

A yes to any of these questions is success for this step:

“Will you go with me to see a counselor?” (or priest, rabbi, school counselor, school nurse, psychologist, or whatever kind of professional they are willing to see).

“Will you let me help you make an appointment with…?”

“Will you promise me …?” (Not to kill yourself until this works?”) Often they won’t follow through because they feel so helpless and hopeless. That’s why it’s a good idea to get the person to agree to go on living.

Say something like, “I want you to live. Won’t you please stay alive until we can get you some help?” It’s reported that making the promise not to hurt or kill oneself, but to go on living, tends to bring relief and the fulfillment of that promise. Dr. Quinnett says the response is almost always a yes. The power of the relationship you have with your son or daughter (or whoever it might be) is the key.

But what if they say no?  You can still do something. Refusal doesn’t mean QPR failed. You now know they are in danger and you can take action. As of today the laws of our country say it is not allowed for an individual to die by suicide. It is not an acceptable solution for life’s problems. They have made provisions to help keep suicidal people alive and protect them from themselves.

If you are concerned your child is at risk for suicide call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a 24/7 source of help.

In my next post I will explain the third and final step, Refer.

Father, please comfort every person reading this who knows and cares about someone who is feeling suicidal today, especially if it’s their son or daughter. 
Give them courage to ask the “S” question and engage in the persuade process. Use them to bring relief to a hurting soul. Breathe life and strength into their own souls. Stay close to them  while they endure the most difficult days of their lives. Thank you for how much you care about all your children.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.





What Parents Need to Know About Suicide – Part Two

006This is part two outlining the QPR steps that anyone can learn to help prevent a suicide. What is the number one cause of suicidal behavior? Untreated depression. When discovered, it is highly treatable. Complicating factors arise when a person seeks relief by self medicating 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.” (qpr institute)  Who needs to know this technique? Everyone, not just concerned parents. I encourage you to share this information with your friends. Let’s spread the word and save lives.

Here is a quick overview of the three steps of QPR:

Question – a person about suicide

Persuade – the person to get help and,

Refer – the person to the appropriate resource

The first step of asking “the question” requires a lot of courage.

What Parents Need to Know About Suicide – Part One

painAre you a parent who has been fearful your son or daughter might be thinking of killing themselves? Do you know what the warning signs are? Did you feel a great sense of denial and at the same time tremendous fear to ask them if they felt suicidal? Were you completely ignorant what to do? Don’t feel bad. I did, too. So has every mom or dad who has been in this situation. You’re not alone.

I have some great news for you. There is a very simple, easy- to-learn strategy you can use that could save their life – or anyone’s. This information is from an expert  who developed this strategy called QPR, Dr. Paul Quinnett. When you see clues and warning signs to suicide you should follow the three steps of QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer.

BUT – the first thing you need to know are the most common warning signs of suicide. So let’s begin there. In my next post I will share the details of QPR.