You or someone you know may be thinking of suicide. Learn how to tell, how to help, and how to heal after a suicide attempt.
According to Dr. Kenichi Shimokawa of LDS Family Services, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people between 15 and 29 years of age worldwide. Dr. Shimokawa says that “suicide is one of the most difficult trials in mortality.” Elder M. Russell Ballard agrees that “there is no more difficult time for a family than when a loved one takes his or her own life.”
To address this epidemic, Dr. Shimokawa has written an article “Understanding Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention.” This Ensign article helps those who suspect that someone they know may be struggling with thoughts of suicide; it gives ideas on how to spot it, prevent it, and heal in its aftermath.
If you know someone making threats to commit suicide, looking for ways to commit suicide, or writing and talking about suicide, you need to immediately find help for that person from mental health specialists or emergency services.
If you suspect someone is suicidal, reach out to that person: offer to help with concrete things like finding a job, doing yard work, or even just going for a walk. If you suspect that the person is in danger, stay with him or her and seek help by calling a suicide hotline or emergency services.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes people do take their own lives. Refrain from judging them or their loved ones and allow time and space for the survivors to grieve. If you are struggling as a result of a loved one’s suicide, reach out to those around you—but most of all, reach out to the Savior, who will “wipe away all tears from [your] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4).
Read Dr. Kenichi Shimokawa’s full article, “Understanding Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention,” for more guidance on how to get help for yourself or someone else.
–W. Nathan Miller, Mormon Insights
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If you or someone you know is struggling with desires for suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately: 1(800) 273-8255.
If you live outside the United States, visit suicide.org for a comprehensive list of suicide hotlines worldwide.