Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Suicide Isn't Painless

Yesterday there was a situation in the parking lot of our local Kroger store in which a gentleman of my own age (57) had a gun and was threatening to commit suicide. 

Emotions tend to run high at this time of year. Statistically, Christmas is not the most likely time to commit suicide. It is not even the most common time of the year for depression to surface. Suicide rates actually increase in January. 

Maybe it was just coincidence, but when I was working in mental health I usually volunteered to be on call over Christmas. I had no small children at home to get ready for Santa Claus. My contribution to the family gatherings was usually a tray of deviled eggs, which were easy enough to prepare. So, I took call. 

Sure enough, when I was on call Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a suicide threat (and sometimes a homicide one!) would inevitably come in. I usually sang for Christmas Eve services somewhere, so the timing of these was sometimes dicey. It always worked out. One time I had to have someone call the sheriff on one phone while I was talking down the person on another. Thankfully, the person was always picked up and taken to get help. 

Always take a suicide threat seriously. And if you are suicidal, I know from personal experience that things are truly darkest before the dawn. There is help out there. Get it. 

Here is a list of hotlines for suicide and for other issues that don't go away just because it's Christmas, such as drug abuse and domestic violence. 


Suicide is not painless for those who love you. 

1 comment:

Carolyn Webster said...

Well said, my friend. What a gift you were to those you encouraged "off the ledge." Thank you for being a friend to those who believe they have none. Thank you for giving hope to those who felt they had none. It sure makes life easier on my side.

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