People do not “commit” suicide, but rather die by suicide in the same way a person dies from cancer, or a heart attack. It is an illness, usually depression, or another form of mental illness. Those suffering are often trapped in their own pain and isolation. Those left behind have deep wounds from losing someone precious to them and are often haunted by the guilt of what they could have done to prevent their loss.
As a community we can grieve with those left behind, but we often distance ourselves and are unsure of how to respond. It can be a soul-scarring experience to lose a friend or loved one to suicide. Talking about the loss helps us understand the intense distress the person must have been undergoing to feel his/her only option was suicide. Education can help us identify and help those in need to seek treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Learning the warning signs and helping to teach protective skills to those at risk can help all of us.
Suicide is complicated. There are no simple answers. There are strategies.
For help and counseling call Debbie Major, Phd. at 312.655.7285. Debbie is the clinical supervisor for L.O.S.S. (Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide).
For more information, visit: www.catholiccharities.net/loss and visit Fr. Ron Rolheiser’s OMI, website at
http://www.ronrolheiser.com/columnarchive/?id=418 Fr. Rolheiser, OMI, finds the words we search for when we are facing a loss as this.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
A 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With more than 130 crisis centers across the country, our mission is to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential.