May 15-17 is the National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope and Life, designated as a time to pray for those like me who have survived the suicide death of someone we care about. Find my reflections on opening the door to grief at The Perennial Generation.
Crisistextline.org is a relatively new online service in the US that makes it possible for distressed people to seek help via chat, 24/7. Data aggregated from its more than 18,000 conversations per day — more than 141 million messages total since the service opened in August 2013 — also provide a staggering picture of how and when people experience such profound emotional distress that they will make contact with a stranger for support.
If you need help now, you can contact Crisistextline.org by texting START to 741-741.
For those of us who believe that God and God’s church can be a source of great comfort and support, the data picture is, in itself, a source of emotional distress. It turns out that Sunday, our primary day of community celebration, is a very tough day in the world of crisis counselors. Sunday is the day of the week that the largest number of help-seekers to Crisistextline.org …Continue reading
The first time I sat next to a person who had attempted suicide, it was a midlife man who had decided he’d rather be dead than go back to a psychiatric hospital.
I know. Sounds crazy, right? Except there’s more sense there than you want to know.
Here’s how he found himself at such a point:Continue reading
Every September, we mark Suicide Loss Survivor Day, which makes it a great time to learn from all three kinds of people who live beyond suicide.
Most of the people we call “suicide survivors” are people who lost loved ones to suicide deaths. These are the people who will be gathering this weekend. A suicide death often leaves relatives and friends not just grief-stricken but guilt-plagued. They fear they should have recognized signs and prevented the death. After my friend “Katie” hung herself, my other roommate and I weren’t even able to talk about her for maybe a decade. It was just too hard.
A second kind of “suicide survivor” is the person who manages to live beyond a suicide attempt. Kevin Hines, who survived his jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in the year 2000, is one of the better known of these. He’s focused his life since then on encouraging others to #BeHereTomorrow.
Add a Third Kind of Suicide Survivor to the Rally
A third kind of “suicide survivor” doesn’t quite fit the mix, yet has reason to be counted in this difficult company. The third kind of survivor are people who survive chronic suicidal thinking. We are the people who survive our suicidal thoughts many times a year, many times a week … some of us many times a day. And still we choose to keep moving forward.Continue reading
Steve Rose, an academic sociologist trained in Canada, has focused much of his study on veteran suicide. Check out his intelligent reflections on faith and mental health among our warriors:
Is War a Spiritual Experience? “…expecting a veteran to ‘adjust’ to civilian life, is akin to asking Saint John of the Cross to be happy flipping burgers at McDonald’s …”
How Veterans Experience Anomie “…you’re used to doing things that mattered, and suddenly your life is simply digesting bullshit and consuming instead…”
Losing God in War “The military is very good at teaching us how to fight and survive in war zones but, they have not taught us to survive what we saw and did in those war zones…”
Finding God Amidst War “In the all-consuming quiet, he is confronted with his own emptiness, his own spiritual poverty. He is forced to confront those inner recesses of the soul that crave the bread of heaven and the water of life …”