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
… is the subtitle of my so-far favorite book on suicide prevention.
Author Kate Bornstein, a transgender performance artist, has assembled largely from personal experience an entertaining and fundamentally useful collection of “things to do today instead of killing myself.”
Bornstein invests the first 80 pages of the book in gender identity politics, which may or may not interest a particular reader. The remaining 160 pages are a brilliant compendium of 101 things a person could do today instead of dying. Continue reading
The new #changementalhealth Campaign to Change Direction is starting off with a graphic bang and big commitments by big organizations to make the “five signs” of diagnosible mental health conditions known to everyone.
Three of the five — withdrawal, failure to care for oneself, and a sense of hopelessness — are depression symptoms that can also match suicide precursors. Adding a sense of agitation to the mix makes suicide attempts more likely.
Suicide prevention is properly a major public health concern today, with more people in the U.S. dying from suicide than from auto accidents, HIV/AIDS, or homicides. Having such a huge public awareness campaign may help to reduce our staggeringly high rate of suicide death (39,000 annually) and attempts (about 130,000).
Handle 5 Signs With Care
At the same time, I hope people will be reasonable when they look at their friends and apply these 5 signs. Every introvert looks withdrawn to every extravert. Every person from New Jersey looks agitated to every person from Minnesota. Continue reading
Lately, I’ve been reading Thomas Joiner and Anthony Pisani on suicide and its prevention. They approach the subject from slightly different views, but at base have community- and person-focused theories. The key distinctive between their theories and most of what I’ve seen is they don’t assume a suicidal person is “mentally ill.”
Illness or Lack of Community?
Here’s the difference between the mainstream and how these two researchers approach the subject.
Mainstream theories – 90-95% of people who suicide suffer from 1 of these 4 mental illnesses: depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Joiner / Pisani – People who suicide have reached a point where they cannot find meaning in life, lack a community where they feel valued, feel burdensome to those around them — and have also obtained the fearlessness, means, and skill to do the deed. Continue reading