Pastors, You Need to Know How to Spot Suicide Risks

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Can you see the signs when a member of your congregation is really hurting?
Can you see the signs when a member of your congregation is really hurting? (iStock photo)

Myth No. 1: Talking about suicide should be avoided, because it puts the idea in a person's head.

Truth: Knowing others are struggling with similar issues and hearing their escape enables individuals to cope. It is very comforting to know that other people understand and are overcoming similar feelings.

Myth No. 2: People who talk about suicide don't commit suicide.

Truth: Most people who actually commit suicide have already attempted it or displayed tendencies in the past in forms such as cutting or making comments. Study has shown that those who talk about suicide are more likely to act on those discussions.

Myth No. 3: The majority of suicides happen without indicators.

Truth: Most often trouble has previously been expressed through words, actions or attitudes. There are almost always numerous warning signs. However, sometimes they can be difficult to detect.

Myth No. 4: Suicides only happened to certain groups of people like teenagers or elderly people who are terminally ill.

Truth: No one is immune from suicide, and it happens in every demographic group.

Myth No. 5: People who have previously attempted suicide and overcome their thoughts of self-violence are highly unlikely to make the attempt again.

Truth: For many, this was a second or third attempt. Just because someone has overcome thoughts of self-harm does not guarantee they will not encounter similar feelings in the future.

Ultimately, we all need to be compassionate and on alert. An open line of communication, intentional interaction that includes listening, accessibility and sympathizing are the prevalent needs. The use of professional counselors, rehabilitation or even prescribed medicines should never be avoided.

Ultimate healing comes from the Hand of the Great Physician. Dedication to prayer and displaying the love of Christ bring supernatural results and spiritual healing.

Jay Lowder is a full-time evangelist and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries, an international organization based in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is also the author of Midnight in Aisle 7.

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