When contemplating the top causes of death, most people likely think of cancer, heart disease, car accidents or drug overdose as being the primary culprits. While these do claim more people than preferred, they are far from the only offenders.
Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, both well-known celebrities, recently lost their lives at their own hands through suicide, causing the issue to once again be in the forefront of the news. In addition, the “why” behind such a thing is being contemplated anew.
Of course, understanding what causes someone to commit suicide is difficult. After all, these two examples were both well respected, loved and overwhelmingly successful individuals. Their family members and friends whom they left behind to pick up the pieces said they seemed happy and loved living life. Why then would someone who seems so happy, so eager to live life simply decide to end it? It is a question that needs to be considered like never before as data seems to indicate the problem is only going to get worse.
According to a report recently released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in America. Since the deaths of a few high-profile celebrities, the issue is becoming harder for many Americans to ignore.
The study also discovered that instances of suicide have been on the rise in recent years. Along with drug overdoses and Alzheimer’s disease, are the three causes of death that continue to increase year after year. The report stated that suicide levels in 49 states had risen more than 30% between 1999 to 2016.
Many people assume that suicide only comes about due to the presence of a mental illness. The CDC report found that some 54% of people who lost their lives due to suicide had no history of mental illness. An additional study by the CDC, cited by the Omaha World-Herald, discovered that “many victims acted after relationship problems or loss; substance misuse; physical health problems; or job, money, legal or housing stress.”
“Our data suggests suicide is more than a mental health issue,” study author Deborah Stone said.
She went on to clarify that contrary to popular belief, data shows it is “very rare” for people who suffered from chronic depression to commit suicide. The term “more than” a mental illness is important as the CDC research seems to indicate what led up to suicide is often an inability to cope with life. This doesn’t mean mental illness is not involved just that it doesn’t stop there.
It is always a great idea to encourage people to speak up if they are having suicidal thoughts according to the CDC. Simply putting a voice to their feelings can go a long way towards healing. In addition, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be reached at 800-273-8255 is a valid tool to help those facing the temptation of taking their own life. When it comes to Christians, though, so much more needs to be done…
According to the book “Preventing Suicide” by Karen Mason, “people who are contemplating suicide want to be rescued.” This doesn’t mean they will articulate this, though. In many cases, they will battle their own self, as they are torn between their innate desire to live and their despair with life. Suicide takes place when their desire to die outweighs their desire to live, or moves beyond their ability to utilize coping mechanism designed to help them deal with their pain.
Christians must be the first ones to step up and offer people the resources they need to cope with their issues. Healing, or coping, might come through counseling, therapy or even medication. However, no method of healing should be looked down upon just because it involves modern medicine or science. In fact, just about the worst thing a Christian can do is say, “Oh taking medication is unspiritual. If we just believe or pray more, then we’d be able to heal this.”
No person, Christian or otherwise, would dare question a cancer patients need for chemo or a diabetic’s dependency on insulin. However, some believers look at taking medication or seeking therapy or counseling as a lack of faith. With the increase of suicide rates ever climbing; though, now is the time individuals must open their eyes to the truth of brain chemistry, neuroscience and medicine.
Christians must encourage those seeking help to find it through both prayer and medicine. Suffice it to say, conversations in the church about the hot topic of suicide and how to prevent it need to happen now before one more life it lost to it clutches.
~ 1776 Christian