Now glory be to God!
By his mighty power at work within us,
he is able to accomplish infinitely more
than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Ephesians 3:20

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Suicide Prevention Awareness

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Suicide Prevention training.  It was held by mental health professionals in a local church on a Wednesday.  It was a full house.  I'm guessing the church could seat 300-350 people.  It. Was. A. Full. House.

It was all good information, however there were two highlights.  The first was the viewing of a documentary called Daughter of Suicide.  Hard to watch but time well spent. I highly recommend everyone in a helping profession watch it,  as well as those who are not professional helpers.  if you've lost someone to suicide you will relate.  If you've been suicidal, it will be eye opening.  If you have any one in your life who struggles with mental health issues, you need to see this film.  If you have anyone in your life that you care about, you need to see this film.  As the title indicates, the documentary is by a woman whose mother completed suicide.

 The second highlight was a panel of suicide survivors.  I do not mean family and loved ones left behind by another's suicide.  That is a whole other kind of pain.  This was a panel of some of the bravest people I have ever encountered.  They had all taken action to end their own lives, and lived to tell about it, AND did tell about it for the benefit of others.  Moving.  Emotional.  Inspiring.  Difficult.

I won't even try to capture the depth of human experience that was conveyed during this session, but I do want to share a few things.  The panel consisted of five people, ranging from early twenties to late sixties, both men and women, from all walks of life.   Some had multiple attempts, some only one.  The details of their stories were different, but there were many similarities.

All mentioned the use of alcohol and drugs.
All didn't talk about the pain they were in.
All described "tunnel vision" as in they couldn't see, hear or receive love or support.
All mentioned caring people who helped them regain a sense of connection.  It may have been a nurse, a first responder, a police officer or a counselor.  But they all mentioned how they were treated in medical facilities had a very big impact on them.
All mentioned that they were happy to be here, happy that their attempt(s) hadn't succeeded.  They indicated a sense of not being done or finished, though they all still had the problems they had before their attempt(s).
All displayed a sense of humor.

I was blown away by these five people and their willingness to share, publicly, about the darkest time in their lives.  The fact that they cold joke and laugh is an amazing testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.  The fact that they spoke publicly and candidly about this usually hidden, secret topic is a testimony to their courage.  I pray I never forget this experience.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or feeling suicidal, please get help.  Talking about it will not put the idea in their head.  We must bring this out of the darkness and into the open.  There is help.  There is hope.  These five people are proof.

Suicide prevention hotline 18002738255.  1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Both are staffed 24/7 by trained professionals.  
  • Tell a friend or family member.
  • Reach out to someone at church.
  • Call a counselor or mental health clinic.
  • Talk to your sponsor.
  • Call your Pastor.

Do not suffer in silence any longer.  

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