Since 1974, the United States has observed National Suicide Prevention Month in September. Dedicating a month to bringing awareness to this mental health issue not only shows those who suffer with this disease it’s okay to admit you’re not okay, but there is nothing weak in asking for help.
It also provides an opportunity for each of us to realize how important it is to talk about the subject.
Last month, as I prepared posts for September, I debated whether to revisit the subject. I pretty much decided not to. (I first wrote about suicide in a post in 2014.)
But sadly, after minister Jarrid Wilson, the founder of Anthem of Hope committed suicide September 10, 2019 on National Suicide Prevention Day, I decided to write this post. Anthem of Hope’s website states they are an organization devoted to help equip the church with the resources needed to help better assist those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide, whose core values are: God Loves You, Life Matters, and You Have a Purpose.
I’ve had first-hand experience with friends who committed suicide and friends who tried, but fortunately, did not succeed. I am by no means an expert. So I’ll leave that to the experts.
My hope in writing this post is to raise awareness of this staggering problem which affects so many around each of us.
SAVE Suicide Awareness Violence Education reports:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
- Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
- Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
- Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
- Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
- An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
- There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
- There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)
Anthem of Hope’s blog reports:
- Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year.
- On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-24.
- More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined.
- Four out of Five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs.
- Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7th-12th.
Here are some statistics from several LifeWay Research studies that may help better understand the issue of mental health among people in our churches. (From Anthem of Hope’s blog.)
Christian Mental Health Statistics:
- 23 percent of pastors acknowledge they have personally struggled with a mental illness.
- 49 percent of pastors say they rarely or never speak to their congregation about mental illness.
- 27 percent of churches have a plan to assist families affected by mental illness.
- 65 percent of churchgoing family members of those with mental illness want their church to talk openly about mental illness.
- 59 percent of those actually suffering from mental illness say the same.
- 76 percent of churchgoers say suicide is a problem that needs to be addressed in their community.
- 32 percent of churchgoers say a close acquaintance or family member has died by suicide.
- 80 percent of pastors say their church is equipped to assist someone who is threatening to take his or her own life.
- 4 percent of churchgoers who lost a loved one to suicide say church leaders were aware of their loved one’s struggles.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or Anthem of Hope.
Awareness is the beginning. We can all be a part of throwing out a lifeline and help prevent suicide.
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He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalms 40:2 (NLT)
I wish you well.
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