If you are in crisis, please call one of the following:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). If you are deaf or hard of hearing, contact by TTY at 1-800-799-4889. Alternatively, you can connect online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now/
- Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, Press 1, or text 838255. Alternatively, you can connect online at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
- Word of Hope at 1-888-217-8679. Alternatively, you can connect online at https://www.word-of-hope.org (link to their phone number)
Calls to each of these agencies are free and are always handled confidentially. Know that we love you and care for you, and want you to know that there is hope in Jesus. Pastor is also available for counseling and prayer, working alongside the mental health professionals.
It is important to understand up-front that suicide is an all too common tragic outcome of underlying spiritual warfare. Since being cast out of heaven, Satan, no longer able to accuse Christians before God, has continued to make war on His people, working to tear them from His kingdom (1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:10,17). Satan would like people to lose their trust in Christ Jesus. The adversary thrives on accusation (Job 1:9-11, 2:4-5), making people vulnerable to fear, guilt, shame and suicide. The current COVID pandemic has provided abundant opportunity for him to run rampant. It is thus of utmost importance that Pastor be included in the overall approach, to work alongside the health care professionals, counseling the individual, assuring him/her of God’s forgiveness, life and salvation in Jesus, and working to restore him/her to the protection of the Church community (Ephesians 6:10-18a). And of course, we should at all times be praying for Pastor in his work in this community in the stead and by the command of our Lord Himself (John 20:19-23; Ephesians 6:18b-20).
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and from 1999-2018 increased 35%.1 Furthermore, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the 10-34-year-old age group, the 4th leading cause in those 35-64, and in fact there are 2.5 times as many suicides as homicides in the United States.2 The elderly are not immune, from 1999-2018, the highest rate of suicide in men was in those 75 years of age and older.3 The COVID pandemic, with widespread isolation, job loss, and the like, has made a bad situation worse: a survey taken the last week of June, 2020 revealed that since 2018, the numbers of individuals across the life span with suicidal thoughts had roughly doubled, and in young adults age 18-24, reached 25.5%.4 There is widespread concern that even if the pandemic is completely controlled in the near future, the damage done will be long-lasting and the number of suicides will continue to increase.
Warning signs of suicide include any or a combination of the following:5
- Talk of wanting to die or killing oneself
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and without reason to live
- Making a plan to kill oneself
- Expressions of great guilt or shame
- Feelings of being trapped or no solutions
- Unbearable emotional or physical pain
- Talk of being a burden to others
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changed eating/sleeping habits
- Rage or talk of seeking revenge
- Significant risk taking, like driving extremely fast
- Talking/thinking about death often
- Extreme mood swings
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends/family
- Putting affairs in order, making a will (out of context of normal planning)
- NOTE: Some people seem all of a sudden improved or even happy; often the result of settling on a date and plan for attempting suicide
If you or someone you know is experiencing these warning signs, please get help right away, following these 5 steps, recommended by the National Institute of Mental Health:6
Clearly ASK “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” This is not an easy question but does not increase the risk of suicide. If yes, then ask specifically, “Do you have a plan?” Do not argue with the person, instead focus on listening to his/her story.
KEEP THEM SAFE, reducing access to lethal items or places (this highlights the importance of asking the individual if s/he has a specific plan).
BE THERE, listening carefully and acknowledging his/her feelings, which may actually decrease the risk for suicide.
HELP THEM CONNECT to one of the crisis numbers listed on our webpage.
STAY CONNECTED: stay in touch and follow up after a crisis, which ultimately reduces the number of suicide deaths.
- https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db362.htm (accessed 10 December AD2020)
- https://nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicides.shtml (accessed 10 December AD2020)
- See the data in the reference linked in the first note above.
- https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6932a1-H.pdf (accessed 10 December AD2020); caveats of note include the low response rates in all groups, but particularly in the young adults (13.4%), the fact that the individuals surveyed in 2018 are not necessarily the same as those surveyed in 2020, and finally, that although the surveyors used validated tools, it is not possible to make a firm diagnosis through a survey.
- Information from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml (accessed 10 December AD2020)
- See the reference in the 5th note immediately above