In my last article, I focused on the subject of suicide and how God views that act and those who decide to kill themselves. No matter what the reason may be that a person decides to commit the act of suicide, this act is certainly not the answer to that person’s problems. After discussing the spiritual consequences of suicide in the last article, I would like to spend this article discussing other consequences of suicide, namely, the effect of a person’s suicide on his or her loved ones.
In a study released by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States as of 2016. Eighty-four percent of those who commit suicide in the U. S. are white, and 77% of that number is male. The suicide rate has been on the rise between the years of 1999 and 2016, with rates varying from state to state. The increase of people committing suicide means an increase in loved ones being left behind, distraught, confused, with lives forever changed.
So, how can you or I help a person who has suffered the loss of a loved one due to suicide? Losing a loved one to suicide can be somewhat different than losing a loved one to a physical sickness or accident in that the act of suicide is totally preventable. Although losing a loved one to a major sickness or accident is devastating, the person who has passed away had no control over the circumstances in which he or she lost his or her life. When someone commits suicide, unless he or she is suffering a major mental health issue, that person made the conscious choice to end his or her own life of his or her own free will. This fact causes the loved ones left behind to wonder why the suicide happened and what could they have done to prevent the suicide.
First of all, there is nothing anyone can really do to prevent a person from committing suicide, and loved ones of a person who has committed suicide should never blame themselves for this act taking place. No one can totally control another person’s actions, and the act of suicide is something that the person who commits it has to answer for, not his or her loved ones.
One thing that we can do to attempt to help those who may be considering suicide is to look at risk factors for suicide in those around us. Some of these risk factors include:
It is also important as Christians to be there physically and emotionally for those who have lost loved ones due to suicide. Here are some ways that we can support those who have lost a loved one to suicide.