A Christian Perspective of Suicide Prevention


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Suicide is believed to be the third leading cause of death for young people, especially teens, in the United States of America, though there are many more attempts than actual suicide completions. There are usually significant signs in adolescents before an attempt is ever made. The ability of parents, teachers, youth directors, ministers, Christian lay persons, and others to recognize the signs that show that a young person may be at risk for suicide or is considering suicide is essential in suicide prevention. Adults and others close to a young person may notice significant changes in that person’s behavior. These changes may continue for quite some time and may be obvious in several areas of functioning.

Stressful or traumatic life events can precipitate a suicide attempt, especially if the precipitating event has not been properly dealt with or has been ignored, disbelieved, denied, or covered up by others close to the person who is suicidal. Helpers should be aware that some things that don’t seem stressful for you may be stressful for them. Some stressful events are sudden losses (death, divorce, separation, job, etc.) or life changes (sudden job loss or promotion, marriage, separation, or other relationship changes, having a child or losing a child through miscarriage or abortion), physical (health, accidents, natural disasters, or war related events) or sexual trauma (childhood sexual abuse, date rape, rape, etc.). Note that the trauma does not have to be experienced personally, but may be experience vicariously in a person close to the one who actually experienced the event. They may have personally experienced a traumatic event, seen a traumatic event or graphic images of the event, or simply have heard a graphic portrayal of the traumatic event in person, or in the media.

A person who is suicidal for any reason needs to feel they have others in their life who love and care for them, and that there is hope for change in life circumstances. Family and friends should never keep this kind of secret. When there seems to be no other sources of help, as a Christian helper, you may be the last hope that person has. If family and friends have rejected them, or tried to keep it a secret, or denied the problem exists, then Christian professionals and lay persons need to be willing to step up and be the one who stands in the gap for that person, through spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical support, and through prayer. Suicide situations need to be handled openly and truthfully, while getting as much help and support for the person as possible. When the responsibility for the person is shared by several helpful people in that person’s life, then the person will likely feel more loved and cared for by others. Helpful family members, close friends, doctors, teachers, employers, ministers, counselors, and other Christian lay persons are all good resources for a person who is suicidal.

When deciding if a young person has a plan, think about how lethal the plan is. If a gun is involved the plan is likely to be lethal. Jumping from high places or hanging themselves, are more lethal plans than taking pills or cutting wrists. Think about whether or not the plan is realistic and the means accessible. Think about if the plan has specific components such as time, place, method, etc. High risk activities are writing notes, emails, texts, or letters stating suicidal intentions, or making a will and giving away personal items, collecting pills or other lethal substances, having access to a gun, or another potentially lethal weapon. If the plan is obviously unrealistic, or otherwise seems confusing, a mental or emotional disorder may be present, and professional help should be sought out. If a realistic plan or an attempt has been made, always seek professional help. Call 911 first, then others who are needed. A parent or other loved one should not be called first to the scene, without notifying proper authorities. If the suicide is successfully completed, they may come upon the scene with no one else there to support them in the time of crisis.

Some warning signs to look for are:

  •  Previous suicide attempts
  •  Prior history of sexual, physical, verbal, and/or emotional abuse
  •  Verbalized or written threats
  •  Knowledge of methods of suicide
  •  Feelings of hopelessness
  •  Feelings of helplessness
  •  Words of anger at self or others
  •  Themes of death and depression in verbal, written, or artistic form
  •  Giving away important possessions
  •  Talk of not being missed if gone
  •  Self-abusive behaviors (cutting, taking pills, excessive piercing, etc.)
  •  Recent loss by death or separation (parent or other loved one, pet)
  •  Personality changes (Withdrawal, aggressiveness, moodiness)
  •  High Risk behaviors (promiscuity, drugs, alcohol, reckless driving)
  •  Change in academic performance
  •  Truancy or chronic tardiness
  •  Running away
  •  Physical symptoms (chronic headaches, stomach aches, eating and sleeping disorders)
  •  Ignoring personal appearance (not bathing, combing hair, etc.)

When a young person shows signs of suicidal ideation, you should:

  •  Listen empathically to how they are feeling, while encouraging them to talk to you or another trusted person.
  •  Be truthful about your feelings of being scared, worried, or uncertain.
  •  Share your own experiences of feeling sad, hurt, alone, and helpless. Let them know they are not alone in these feelings.
  •  Get professional help when suicidal ideations are known. Seek help from counselors, ministers, local crisis centers, or mental health centers.
  •  Let them know that there are other options than suicide, and that suicide is an unchangeable answer to a changeable problem.
  •  In the event that a suicide threat occurs with an obvious plan, call 911 immediately, then other necessary parties.

No Suicide Contract

I, ________________, agree to call or contact __________________ (someone I can trust) at ____________________ (phone number or email) if I ever feel overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, or unable to cope by having suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Suicide is an unchangeable answer to a changeable problem.

___________________ ___________________

Student Signature Counselor Signature

Death, you will not hurt me! Death, you will not have victory over me!

The Bible

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About mamaheartfilled

I am a mother of eight wonderful children and three grandkids, who I am very proud of. I am also a bi-vocational ordained evangelical minister, and a Christian Counselor. I received my B.S. degree in 2004, studying primarily in the areas of Psychology, with minors in Religion and English. I received my Masters Degree in 2009 in Psychological Counseling with an emphasis in Christian Counseling. My ministry is geared toward victims of sexual and domestic violence, including victims of childhood sexual abuse, whether currently or in the past. Since I have personally experienced the healing hand of God in overcoming many of the life issues that Christians may face, I feel qualified and compelled to discuss them in a truthful and open manner, as God’s word tells us that “We shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.” God has brought me through such diverse tribulations as sexual, physical, and mental abuse, being a victim of a drunk driving accident, spousal pornography addiction, adultery, divorce, remarriage, a very brief, though unjust, incarceration, and having experienced multiple miscarriages and various other trials. I have been asked to leave two Southern Baptist Churches, due to my being a female, ordained as a minister, and fired from a SBC sponsored Christian School (mostly white) for speaking out against racial prejudice in the Family of God. Through God’s merciful forgiveness of my own sins and inadequacies and God’s grace given to me to forgive those who have been a stumbling block to me, I have overcome many of these adversities. God’s word tells us that “All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to the purposes of God." Since I have this hope, I believe that God has blessed me with the ability to confront and relate these issues to the Christian community, and that I have been called to the homeland mission field of North America. I hope to be able to use my personal experiences as a ministry of God’s grace and in the comforting of the people of God with the truth of God's mercy. I claim II Corinthians 1: 3 & 4 as my calling, which states: “Blessed be God, the Origin of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Origin of mercies, and the God of comfort; who comforts us in all our troubles, that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, by the comfort we ourselves have been given by God.” As I have received the gift of God’s healing, I hope to be able to bring the peace beyond understanding to others with the message of God’s mercy and grace. My love for the Sovereign Lord of my life, Jesus Christ, along with my passion for writing has drawn me to explore these commonly experienced crisis issues from the perspective of my own experience in the hope that I may bring an empathetic and compassionate insight to God’s people. I am now a published author and have several books in publication, including my autobiography, "A Little Redneck Theology." The views expressed in my writings are strictly my own insights, acquired from personal experience and diligent study of the related topics and God’s word concerning them. Though I am an ordained minister, my views should not be considered authoritative. I believe that the Christian community’s ultimate authority is the guidance of the human heart by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
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4 Responses to A Christian Perspective of Suicide Prevention

  1. Mrs says:

    Is there such thing as an inpatient Christian suicide clinic. You know-to check yourself into when you are worried about yourself?

  2. Pingback: Your Questions About Rational Emotional Therapy

  3. Tomekha says:

    “Family and friends should never keep this kind of secret…Suicide situations need to be handled openly and truthfully, while getting as much help and support for the person as possible.” I especially liked this line…my mother and immediate family tried/are trying to cover my own attempted suicide – they haven’t even told some members of our family…I didn’t like the idea of hiding it. http://insideoutrightsideup.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/suicide-%E2%80%93-the-reset-button-in-life/ <—my thoughts about my attempted suicide.
    Thanks for this post.

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