By Mark Hopper
There are several examples of suicide in the Bible. None of them are good. Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. When he realized the terrible thing he had done, Judas took his own life (Matthew 27:5). A wise man named Ahithophel killed himself after David’s rebellious son Absalom rejected his advice (Second Samuel 17:23). The Apostle Paul prevented a Roman soldier from killing himself. Paul reassured the guard that he and all of the prisoners had remained in the jail after a powerful earthquake opened the doors. Paul’s quick action and words stopped the soldier from killing himself (Acts 16:28).
I continue to read and hear about the declining mental health among teens and adults during the Covid19 pandemic. Reports of attempted suicides and self-inflicted harm is increasing among students at an alarming rate. What can parents and peers do to help those who are struggling and at risk of taking their own lives?
First, pray for the hearts and minds of students and adults around you. Ask God to give them hope and help to face these uncertain times.
Second, be alert to conversations and conduct that might signal a person is considering suicide. My son is now an Assistant Principal at a local high school. He launched a program with the staff and administrators to do a mental health update every Monday of students on their campus who might be at risk of harming themselves.
Third, provide hope and encouragement through your own words and actions. Offer to spend time with those who are struggling. Offer to connect them with a local pastor, counselor or mental health professional. Ask the person to make a commitment to you that they will call you before they take any steps to harm or injure themselves.
Fourth, don’t let them dwell on the negative but focus on the positive things in their life (Philippians 4:6-9). When a person takes their own life they leave a trail of pain and heartache in the lives of others. If you or someone you know are in a dark place, let me encourage you to get help right now. Make a call or get to someone’s office or home right now. Don’t wait until it is too late. You will be glad you did and your friends and loved ones will too. (continued)
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By Mark Hopper