Cloudy with a chance of life: Reaching out to those who feel suicidal

You may have seen this quote from an unknown source while scrolling through social media. The picture may have thousands of likes and comments of encouragement but sometimes it isn’t enough. 

Suicide is something that is an unexpected reality. There is nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this type of tragic loss and nothing can soften the blow.

When a life is ended, no matter the situation, those who are left are frozen by the reminder that death is inescapable. When a life is ended intentionally by choice, an additional haze of pain covers all who hear the cause of death mentioned.

Suicide isn’t the end of pain but it is instead a transferring of it. Many people who desire to end their own lives believe that they are unloved and unwanted and that their death would have no effect on anyone around them. Even if someone doesn’t feel loved, death is a messy and painful event. Funerals must be planned, people must be informed, caskets must be bought and eulogies spoken. 

“Many times when someone has suicidal thoughts or associates in suicidal actions, they think about what’s going on is so severe, so bad that they can’t think of any other way out,” said Oscar Gomez, assistant professor of psychology and social services. “The thing is that sometimes suicidal ideation or action is a cry for help and they don’t know how to ask for help,” 

A random survey of CBC students showed that 38% of students have considered taking their own life while another 58% of students have known someone who has taken their own life.

As a community, we must question how different the horrifying statistics would be if people understood that this feeling of insignificance is one that all of us have shared at one point or another.

“Now as friends, associates and classmates, what we can do is [to] be aware of changes in behavior patterns of our friends [and] listen to what they say,” said Gomez. “If they start talking about things like, ‘Oh my life is worthless so I just ought to end it,’ even if they say they’re joking about it, touch base and talk with them. Make sure that they are not just being dramatic.”

We should desire to build a community that is united on all fronts. If we are together, it is harder for someone to consider their lives meaningless; however, happiness is more than one good day. 

There is a point when recovery from suicidal thoughts becomes a choice. One decision of ending a life may not make all the trouble disappear, but the daily decision to have a positive attitude is crucial. 

In this life we are promised hardship. Things go wrong. We miss out on opportunities. Relationships change. 

And yet, the God who created the universe is still here, waiting for us to return home.

The truth is that happiness is not eternal nor is it promised. We must be putting our hope in the joys of Christ instead of the happiness of this world, only he will never let you down. 

Romans 8:28 says, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” 

Although this verse is promising good, it is not what we think is good for us but instead what God sees as good for us. 

We recommend for anyone having suicidal thoughts or actions to seek free confidential help available through the National Sucide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255.

Photo by Mallory Sullivan

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