I know I have already wrote about this topic earlier this year. You can go ahead and get to that post where I mentioned my general thoughts on suicide, statistics on who it affects, and some thoughts on what the bible says suicide is. After some recent events, I believe that I can’t talk too much about this topic as it appears to me that the statistics are only getting worse. Until I see a big change, I will not stop worrying about people who may suffer with the possibility of taking their own life. I believe this is an issue we should continue to remind ourselves that it exists.
Again, before I go any further, I feel the need to make you aware of the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are thinking about hurting yourself or believe that someone you know is dealing with this, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
And yet, again, there is another news report…
Yesterday, I began reading news online and I came across two particular articles that had one thing in common; suicide. There was a tragic incident over the weekend where a young adult killed two people and injured 11 at a Jacksonville gaming tournament before taking his own life. I have read in various places that the suspect dealt with a mental illness. You can read more details on the incident here (be aware that this is a long post, but full of information). There was also another suicide attempt last Friday morning by lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, from Inland Hills Church in Chino, California. After being hospitalized, the pastor passed away Saturday night. According to the church’s Facebook statement, he had a history of battling depression and anxiety. These two incidents, of course, have different paths that led these two individuals down to make such a horrendous decision to end their lives. Even though a shooter makes that decision, as a person, they deserve every right to continue living and deserve forgiveness (no matter how hard that may be). Their life continues to hold value, no matter what justified consequences they may face for their actions.
This morning, I also caught a glimpse of another news article that gave details of another suicide by Michael Lee, a 13 year-old boy from Montana. It’s sad to hear that a child of that age contemplated taking his own life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,309 children that took their life between the ages of 5 and 12. That is a suicide every five days in children within that age group. So many questions come to me after reading these statistics from this article by CNN.
Are these children so susceptible to the effects suicide that they believe it’s normal or okay to respond to any mental or emotional issues with ending their life? I have certainly heard that it is easier to end pain by ending life, but is this a factor that is also believed by children younger than 13? Why has this become so normal for a child to develop these thoughts?
Until we successfully reach out to everyone suffering, we will continue to see this in the news. This is not a solution, but a possibility to see the rates go down.
It is still more common than you think.
There is not enough research to understand these trends and actions and that makes sense. We have to each discern how young each individual child can be to comprehend what suicide and suicidal thoughts are. And we see that these issues affect everyone; veterans, pastors, mothers and fathers, the young and old, sons and daughters, gay and straight, Asian and Hispanic, religious or not—it has the potential to affect every single individual sitting or standing around you.
And since I mentioned the loss of lead pastor, Stoecklein, I want to make it clear that any position of authority or line of work does not diminish the effects of an overload in your emotional and mental state. Aaron Loy is a pastor who wrote about his depression and mentions that there are many times that this is mentioned in the Bible and how this shouldn’t cause anyone to think they don’t have faith in God; “David made a habit of saying things like, ‘My bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. I am worn out from groaning. All night long I flood my bed with my tears’ (Ps 6). Jonah grew so angry with God that he wanted to die (Jonah 4). Jeremiah thought his life so void of hope or value that he cursed the day of his birth (Jer 20:14-18). Elijah was so ridden with anxiety that he begged God to end his life (1 Kg 19:3-4). Despite their struggle, each was hand picked by God to be used in unique and extraordinary ways.”
Loy also tells us that mental illnesses do not affect or are a cause of someone’s spiritual state; “depression is far too complex to be treated so simplistically… than just a spiritual issue.”
Communication is one answer.
Poor communication, or a lack thereof, is a problem from every direction. One of the biggest solutions that I have seen to be given in many places for people that are dealing with depression is to reach out and find an ear to listen. It’s easy to hide your emotions and easy to make people believe that you are fine. But this isn’t only the victim’s fault.
It almost seems that whenever depression or any type of mental illness is not talked about in a group of friends, a church, or a community outreach, the more people may believe that it is not the appropriate time to talk about their feelings. Pride is also one of the biggest threats to life as it causes someone to feel “strong”, yet alone, because they don’t want to be centered or looked down at from anyone out of sympathy.
This means that anyone reading this has the responsibility to talk about mental and emotional illnesses and suicidal thoughts.
In my previous blogpost on the issue, I talked about Kevin Hines, a man who survived an attempt to commit suicide. He is now a spokesperson and activist on everything known to suicide. He places the responsibility on us by saying, “If you don’t see beauty in the next person you meet, you’re not looking hard enough.”
I’m only trying to better understand this issue and how to reach out to those who suffer, because I know how hard it is to approach someone with something small, let alone, the longing to end it all. And well, I can’t give you a verse to hold on to, but I can tell you a promise that everything can be okay, especially if you consider that there are people who really care about you.
As simple as I can put this, I only want you to know that there is a brighter and more viable option than to take your life. Reach out to someone, even if it’s me, for help. If suicide only starts with a thought, a chance for redemption only requires a call for help.
It has also been an online trend on social media and YouTube where, BetterHelp, has become a reoccurring sponsor (that’s not the case here). It is crucial to find someone to talk to about the root of these thoughts and any mental or emotional illness. I know counseling can be expensive and some may even say that this service is still too pricey. Please reach out to a pastor, friend, mentor, or family member. If you don’t think you can find someone and need someone to talk to for encouragement or simply to give you an ear, reach out to me via social media (my Instagram is @Unfltrd.blog) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you lost someone to suicide and need help processing grief, there are support groups across the United States that will comfort you through this process and help you learn to rely on God. To find out more, go to www.griefshare.org or call 1-800-395-5755. Please, don’t let your voice go unheard.