Resources for Suicide Prevention

 The Bible provides a key passage about suicide prevention. In Acts 16, Paul is imprisoned in Philippi. An earthquake happens, the doors are opened and the prisoners are freed. The Philippian jailer draws his sword and is about to kill himself, because he knows he’ll be held accountable for the prisoners’ escape. But Paul cries out: “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here.”

Paul intervenes. When he sees someone at risk of suicide, he speaks into the situation. He saves the jailer’s life and brings him and his whole household to Christ, giving them hope and new life.

We can do the same. If we see someone at risk, we can tell them, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here. We are here for you.”

Potential Warning Signs of Suicide[1]

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a specific way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

If you see these warning signs in others or yourself, get help. Talk to friends, call your pastor, a suicide hotline or even the police. Suicide can be prevented. In many cases, those at risk are torn between the desire to die and the desire to live. Many want to be saved. We can provide them with resources that either decrease their pain or increase their capacity to cope with pain. Offer support, remove access to weapons or other means of self-harm.

 

Resources for Suicide Prevention:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

(800) 273-8255

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Preventing Suicide: A Handbook for Pastors, Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors by Karen Mason, InterVarsity Press, 2014

Kay Warren’s ministry Hope for Mental Health can be found at http://hope4mentalhealth.com/ She has also compiled resources for suicide loss and prevention at http://kaywarren.com/suicide/

See also Amy Simpson’s book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission, InterVarsity Press, 2013.

 

[1] Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, https://save.org/about-suicide/warning-signs-risk-factors-protective-factors/

 

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