Thursday, September 29, 2016

Suicide Prevention Month

(from the Senior Pastor)
Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? See to that yourself!" And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.  Matthew 27:1-10 (NASB)

The story of Judas is one of the saddest in the Bible.  So close to forgiveness and grace yet he could not get past his hopelessness.  Unfortunately, over 40,000 Americans die each year by suicide.  It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
We are going to spend a couple of days taking a look at some important things to know about suicide.  Certainly it would be wonderful if you never needed this information.  But in a hopeless world it seems we have more and more seeking a way out.
Common misconceptions about suicide
  • FALSE: People who talk about suicide won't really do it.
    Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," — no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
  • FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
    Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
  • FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
    Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
  • FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
    Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
  • FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
    You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true—bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Warning signs of suicide
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of their intentions.  You may be the one who can help someone.  The best way to prevent suicide is to recognize these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.  If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Suicide Warning Signs – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

If a person talks about:
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves
Specific behavior to look out for include:
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

A subtler but equally dangerous warning sign of suicide is hopelessness. Studies have found that hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicide. People who feel hopeless may talk about "unbearable" feelings, predict a bleak future, and state that they have nothing to look forward to.
We are those who carry a message of hope.  Seeing the signs, we next need to know what to do.  That will be our topic for tomorrow.
Scripture to Claim:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.  Psalm 62:5-8

Devotional Archive