Tag Archives: choose life

5 Ways to Face Up To Suicide In Your Community

World Suicide Prevention Day is fast approaching, and so for our finally #ThinkFive article, we’ve put together a number of ways you can face suicide in your community.

Facing the darkest condition of the mind isn’t easy, but that is the very reason it must be faced. Only by raising our voices can we break the silence and stigma which still surrounds suicide.

1. Language – If we are aiming to address suicide in our community, we must use language which destigmatizes and encourages openness. The phrases we use to describe suicide, such as “committing suicide” stem from when suicide was a criminal act. As this is no longer the case, suicide is not something to be committed! Instead, use phrases such as completed suicide or died by suicide, these phrases are accurate and do not include the language of judgement.

2. Seek Help – Suicide is not something to be dealt with in isolation, whether it’s you who is struggling, or if you’re supporting someone else, ensure that you are getting support from family, friends, a mental health team or as a part of your job role.

3. Sensitivity – If your community loses someone to suicide, avoid talking about the methods used or the way in which they were found, this is not to hide the issue, but to protect both those grieving and also those who may be facing their own suicidal thoughts.

4. Question – If you’re supporting someone who is having a hard time, whether because of depression, bereavement or any other circumstance, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve thought of suicide. This must be done within the context of a relationship and done sensitively; for example “I know you’ve been feeling really down, and I wonder if you’ve ever felt so bad that you’ve thought of ending it all”.

5. Point Upwards – Whether it be making a point to pray for those who are struggling with mental health issues in corporate prayer times or preaching on a passage in the Bible where someone approaches God with their despair, it’s important not to end with despair. There is hope, not only in the good things that can be found in life, but in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus who came to be our Immanuel – God with Us.

Kay Redfield Jamison said “Suicide is not a blot of anyone’s name, it’s a tragedy” and I wholeheartedly agree. Suicide is a tragedy, it’s not what is meant to be and its’ legacy is long lasting, but more than that suicide is preventable. There is hope.

Cake or Death?

It’s a no brainer, surely? No-one would choose death over cake… would they? Going over some of my degree work I found an essay I’d written on Deuteronomy 30:11-15. The passage says: 

“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?”… No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. See, I have set before life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to Love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands 

then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”

When looked at through the lense of the New Testament we see that to ‘Choose Life’ is to choose Jesus and to walk in his ways, obeying the command that runs right through the New Testament –

‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind and soul and Love your neighbour as yourself.’

For Moses it is a clear-cut choice. Choosing life over death, prosperity over destruction. In Eddie Izzard’s famous “Cake or Death” sketch – it’s easy. Surely cake would always win over death…?

And yet. For the millions suffering from mental illness, that choice is no longer obvious. Indeed, for eating disorder sufferers – the choice is being made by default – death is quite literally being put before cake.

Choosing life is not always an easy decision. And Deuteronomy 30:11-15 offers both a comfort and a challenge.

In Abbie Robson’s autobiography ‘Secret Scars’, she documents how in particular verse 19 showed her that she had a hope if she chose to live God’s way and follow the path Jesus set before her.

‘The choice he is laying before you is between life and blessings in him, or death and curses without. Choosing life is about choosing God, not about giving up everything else…I fell to my knees and started to weep. I knew that I wanted to choose God in a way that I had never done before.’

It can take every ounce of strength, every joule of energy. When hearts and minds are crying for relief – choosing life is costly. 

 

But it is worth it. 

It means being able to live life, rather than just surviving. 

It doesn’t mean a life without trial or struggle. 

But it means not walking alone, and not walking without hope. When we choose life, we choose hope. Hope for change. Hope in what is to come. Hope in who is to come.