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?
I’m afraid there are no clear-cut answers. I’m sorry. Ask ten people and you’ll most likely get ten different answers – Protestant, Catholic, Jew, or Orthodox. Only God knows for sure, so we must leave it up to Him, trusting that He is fair and just, compassionate and kind.
One thing I do know is that we can’t understand the deep, overwhelming darkness of those who suffer with mental illness, often a complicating factor. And what about when a person’s judgement is impaired by drugs or alcohol? What then?
What does the Bible say? That’s what really matters.
Therefore, I want to direct you to a helpful book that does a good job with the topic. It’s highly recommended by a counselor friend who specializes in suicide loss. She’s had personal experience. Her husband died by suicide.
When You Lose Someone You Love by Richard Crome, D.D., Ph.D. gives an excellent explanation for the questions most frequently asked. Chapter 12 deals specifically with suicide.
Four other great books that help with understanding and processing a suicide are:
Finding Your Way After the Suicide of Someone You Love, by Biebel and Foster.
Night Falls Fast, by Kay Redfield Jamison is an in depth book that helps the reader understand the suicidal mind, recognize and come to the aid of those at risk, and comprehend the profound effects on those left behind. I believe this should be read by parents, counselors, educators, or anyone wanting to better understand suicide.
May God uphold and comfort you if you’re dealing with the suicide of someone you loved and cared about. This is an incredibly painful loss. A brutally difficult path to walk.
But comfort is real and help is always available.
If you have no one to talk with, or if you know someone you suspect is considering taking their life, please call this toll free number. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Help is available 365 days a year 24/7. Someone will always be there to take your call.
A comforting Bible verse is:
“O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.” (Psalm 143:1)
May He do this for you today. Amen.