September – Suicide Prevention Month

My son was stationed at Pensacola Naval Air Station. A phone call from Mississippi was certainly out of the ordinary.

“What are you doing in Mississippi?” were my first words.

“I’m in the hospital. I tried to hang myself,” he answered quietly.

To this day, seven years later, he hasn’t talked about the incident and says he never will.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, “Over 1 million people die by suicide worldwide each year and many more make suicide attempts. Countless family members and friends are also affected each year.” (“National Suicide Prevention Week Information & Media Kit, www.suicidology.org)

The National Institute of Mental Health research shows “More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder” (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america.shtml#Suicide)

With so many suicides and suicide attempts, Christians are bound to be part of those statistics.. Whether a Christian has attempted or taken his own life, or the family members left behind are Christians, it is a devastating event.

Suicide is a turbulent topic in the Christian community. For a moment set aside any theology you may have about taking one’s own life. If you haven’t had to deal with suicide in any way, try to imagine what it would be like for you.

If someone you love has either committed suicide or made an attempt, you know what it is like. Life is never the same. Even if the attempt is not fatal, grieving and trauma occur.

The chief question is often “Why?” No one but God can know the answer for sure. Sometimes our loved one can’t tell us why they tried to end their lives. They may not want to relive the experience. It is too traumatizing for them too.

Some common reasons are nothing to live, not worthy of living, or the voices said to do it. At times, what appears to be a suicide attempt is a self-harming behavior that has gotten out of control. (Self-harming behavior is a topic for another time.)

The fear of a repeat attempt is always there. Will it happen again? Will he succeed the next time?

Take part in Suicide Prevention Month by praying for those who have attempted to take their lives. Pray for families who are suffering because of a suicide. And rejoice because “But for the grace of God, go

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