Working Together To Prevent Suicide

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day


Rev. Fr. C. Joseph

Counsellor-St. Joseph’s College, Jakhama


These should always be taken seriously. Many actual suicides are suicide gestures or cries for help that go very wrong. Always act on the cry for help, however insignificant you feel the cause of the threat is. We are dealing with clients who are in pain and their perceptions which are not necessarily close to everyday reality. In the majority of cases an actual suicide is the result of a temporary mental aberration or instability – the person is just off balance rather than insane. An anxious event or something quite small pushes the person beyond his limits of personal normal functioning and control. There are social pressures too, that increase the likelihood of suicide.


Usually people don’t just wake up one morning and decide to kill themselves; there is generally a history of threat or hints that suicide is an option. If the person has some rudimentary plan such as time, place and method, then the threat is very real and you would be wise to obtain professional help as quickly as possible. Here are some further suggestions that may help you cope whilst you are securing professional support:


Avoid platitude and treat the issue as very real. Take the person and his declarations as if he means what he says. Do not attempt to negotiate. Sometimes people commit suicide as a form of retribution or paying back someone else – to make them feel sorry. In such cases do not dwell on that person or how they might react to the intended suicide but rather keep the focus of the conversation on the suicidal person.


Give the person your total regard and listen to him – using plenty of summary statements – so that you can show in a very real way that you understand his position, feelings and emotions. Many, especially young people, harm themselves because there has been a breakdown in communications with those who are significant in their lives. Coupled with this intense listening, refrain from making any judgmental comments or indeed trying to negotiate or talk them around. They will see what you are doing and you will lose their trust. It is far better to keep them talking until they are all talked out.


If it looks as if the person really is going to kill himself then you move from being non-directive and get the person to hospital or a crisis centre and/or notify the police as soon as possible. Tell the person that you understand that he is in real psychological pain but that this will pass with time and that he must hang on and give himself a chance. This is the only area where you will not be expected to be bound by the confidentiality protocols. You have every right to prevent someone harming himself or others and this overrides any contract you have with the individual. Once the event is over and the person is safe you will enjoy his positive regard again, which is worth all possible irrational anger at the time.


Conclusion: Everyone can make a contribution in preventing suicide. Suicidal behaviour is universal, knows no boundaries so it affects everyone. The millions of people affected each year by suicidal behaviour have exclusive insight and unique voices. Their experiences are invaluable for informing suicide prevention measures and influencing the provision of supports for suicidal people and those around them. The involvement of people with lived experience of suicide in research, evaluation and intervention should be central to the work of every organisation addressing suicidal behaviour.


“Every day, we lose many lives to suicide, and many more are profoundly impacted by their deaths. We acknowledge all who experience the challenges of suicidal ideation, and those who have lost loved ones through suicide.”


Prayer against Suicide and Depression: God, I bind my strongman and all demons and evil spirits that are causing me to feel depressed and suicidal, in Jesus name! I cancel all the devil’s assignments against me, my family, and my household in Jesus name. I break the curse of suicide, depression, Heaviness, sadness, hopelessness, self-pity, & grief and command all demons that came in to enforce those curses to go to the pit, in Jesus name never to return. I also bind all spirits of uneasiness, gloom, emptiness, and worthlessness, in Jesus name. I enter into the perfect rest of the Lord. I claim my healing from depression and suicide. Thank you for that perfect peace, Lord! I am a new creation in Christ! I am lead by the Holy Spirit! I claim the perfect love of Christ! I cover my mind, body, and spirit with the blood of Jesus, and loose angels to stand guard and to protect me while I sleep, in Jesus name, Amen!