To mark this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, we wanted to focus particularly on suicidal thoughts.
New statistics have been trickling in for a while now with rates of suicide in women and students rising and Mind estimate that 1 in 5 of us have suicidal thoughts in our lives.
And it seems the younger you are, the the more likely you are to have had thoughts of taking your own life; a new statistic released on Thursday from ChildLine tells us that they have a phone call every 30 minutes from a child having thoughts of taking their own lives.
Every half an hour, a child is talking about taking their own life. And they’re just the ones we know about.
We can’t stay every hand reaching for a way out.
So what can we do?
We can stop young people suffering in silence and solitude.
No-one should feel ashamed of their pain.
And when we speak, shame flees.
When we walk alongside people, we have a chance to make a difference.
We don’t need clever words or therapeutic techniques.
We need to listen to the words of hopelessness so that we can compose a song of hope.
We don’t always need the answers, but we need to be there to hear the questions.
I want to challenge you to be a psalmist, not a problem solver.
A Psalmist speaks and rests their words before God.
Psalm 88 is an example of the power in speaking of the darkness, bringing it before God and leaving it at His feet.
To hope in God in the midst of suicidality demands that not only does God hear us when we cry, but gets into our pain with us. Matt Bays writes:
“Sometimes it feels as if God has invited himself into my pain, when I had hoped to be invited into his healing. We want a God who heals our wounds, but it seems we have a God who heals our hearts.”
This is the God we want to reflect in our ministry. The God who, through Jesus joins us in the dark when it feels like it’s our only friend.
So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, let’s speak of suicide.
Let’s raise awareness of those who are thinking of suicide as I write, but let’s go further.
Let’s shed some light into the darkness, whether that be reaching out to a friend, challenging stigmatising language, praying for the suicidal in our intercessions or starting a conversation in our churches.
To join the conversation; tweet using #SpeakOfSuicide or #WSPD16 and for more information on how you can #SpeakOfSuicide in your community check out Speaking of Suicide course.