Is path warm? What is that all about? We will get to that in a moment but it is an acronym that could save a life!
Last time, we were talking about how a young banker ended his life in a violent way after going to see his priest. Here was a young banker who was successful, married, well respected in society but apparently no one was able to spot the signs. This young man went to see his priest shortly before putting a gun to his head. May his soul rest in peace.
We said we would look at what the church can do to minimize suicide among its members. Firstly why do people choose suicide. What drives them?
Why did the banker do it? Many may ask was he not thinking of his wife and kid. Maybe he thought about them more than ever before. And could not stand the pain anymore. What pain? I can’t tell you the answer. And I don’t believe anyone can.
In the post Depression Awareness and Suicide, we looked at why people die by suicide.
People die by suicide for a number of reasons:
##1 Because of the apparent hopelessness of their situation
##2 Because of strong urges
##3 They think the world will be better off without them
##4 No reason to live in this world
##5 Want to end the pain
##6 Feel suicide is the only option
So what sign can we look out for fellow members in our church, or a priest or pastor, in your congregant(s)?
Use the acronym below to help spot if someone is feeling suicidal
|I||Ideation||Threatening to hurt or kill self; looking for ways to die|
|S||Substance Abuse||Increased or excessive substance use (alcohol or drugs)|
|P||Purposelessness||No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life|
|A||Anxiety||Anxiety, agitation; unable to sleep|
|T||Trapped||Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out; resistance to help|
|H||Hopelessness||Hopelessness about the future|
|W||Withdrawal||Withdrawing from friends, family and society; sleeping all the time|
|A||Anger||Rage, uncontrolled anger; seeking revenge|
|R||Recklessness||Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking|
|M||Mood Changes||Dramatic mood changes|
As to the presiding priest who saw the young banker before he died by suicide, only God knows what he may be thinking, his anguish even! No priest or pastor wants to lose any member of their congregant, especially when they are young, and especially when they purposely end their own life.
I can imagine his possible thoughts. Example, could he have done more? Did he miss the signs? Could he have prevented the death even? Being the possible last people who saw him or had a conversation with him, it is not an easy weight to carry at all!
Because as a priest or pastor, people come to him for answers. And this time it seemed like things did not go as people would have expected. But as I said in this post, when mental illness strikes a pastor’s family, sometimes when tragedy happens to us or around us, does not make our callings or positions questionable.
In the Church, as a Body we must stand and support each other. Remember if your toe is affected it causes you to limp and be grumpy. In other words, it affects your whole being. Same when one member in the Body dies by suicide. It affects everyone.
Therefore, we got to continue the message of hope…regardless. The church is the hope center. If one light dims, other lights must continue to shine around to light the paths for others. The church has to offer hope to the family and friends left behind. Remember I said in the first post, that these people would be all affected:
- Dependents. I understand the deceased had one child.
- The priest
- Extended family members, friends and acquaintances
- Work colleagues
- Church members
- Others that hear the story
We would also love to hear your views on what signs you have spotted before in the past or how you have prevented suicide. Please do not be shy to comment below. Remember, it can help someone and save a life! If you are feeling suicidal, or knows someone who might be, check our suicide hotline.
We will conclude on this series,When Suicide strikes in the Church, next time again!