Wednesday, September 8, 2010

World Suicide Prevention Day

(pic taken from here -another well-written article)

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

There are a ton of excellent websites on suicide and its prevention, you can start here. It's easy reading, very approachable and friendly and it also has other resources re handling suicidal calls as well as various other online resources.

But in the simplest terms, what can you and i do to prevent suicide?

We can watch out for warning signs in the people around us :-
  • Death or terminal illness of relative or friend.
  • Divorce, separation, broken relationship, stress on family.
  • Loss of health (real or imaginary).
  • Loss of job, home, money, status, self-esteem, personal security.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Depression
and more importantly, take them seriously. It's very important not to dismiss them as a sign of weakness or worse, gloss them over just to make ourselves better. (because we don't know what to do or to say)
Real life is messy,and sometimes are no simple solutions and what seems something small to us may often be difficult for someone else. Let's not compare, but be compassionate, always.

And if we recognise that we are in over our head, there are many volunteer counselling services we can refer to our suffering friends and family - the Befrienders and the Samaritans are 2 fine examples. Perhaps what we can do is to encourage them and to reassure them they are not weak/stupid/foolish for asking for help as well as to help them with the actual mechanics of getting in touch with the counsellors.

(do read here for an expanded write up on what you can do to help someone who may be suicidal)

In summary, suicide is not courageous. It is choosing to reject the gift of life. But before we label people with suicidal tendencies as cowards who run away or sinners who are doomed to hell, at least let us try to understand where they are at and help them to move a little closer to the light.
The best way they can do that is if someone first cares and can see the pain they are going through and extends a loving hand towards them to pull them back from the brink.

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure."

-Joseph Campbell-

For any of us out there suffering under the burdens life has placed on us to the point of crumbling, know that we can move ahead, we can find wonder and goodness and growth from that lowest point in our lives. Let us strive to choose life always!

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