September is Suicide Prevention Month

Published 4:48 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

To the Editor:
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 when 44,834 Americans died from suicide. People should take it seriously and know the warning signs of severe depression and possible suicide attempt and what to do. For those in a crisis situation, emergency care should be sought immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a crisis intervention counselor. Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network can be reached at www.tspn.org.
Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone talks with them in a caring way. A counselor will tell them feelings change and their crisis is temporary, but death isn’t. We have some outstanding Christian counselors in the Elizabethton area such as Art Webb and Brian Scott. Brian Scott is also a member of Sacred Harmony that will sing at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Covered Bridge Days.
In the U.S., suicide rates are highest among American Indian, Alaska Native and white populations. Black Americans have a 70 percent lower suicide rate than white populations. The high rate of suicide among whites contradicts and disproves those in the media and Hollywood who wrongly claim all whites have an unfair white privilege. Having fame and great riches doesn’t prevent one from being depressed and committing suicide as evident from the suicide of actors like Robin Williams. Most people who die of suicide suffered with major depression. The risk of suicide in people with major depression is about 20 times higher than the general population. Each person is different so researchers don’t know what causes depression. It can be caused by a combination of things. For some, depression is caused by thyroid problems or vitamin deficiency. Women have had major depression from taking the wrong birth control medication. Lacking B-complex vitamins can cause depression. For others, depression is caused by rejection or loneliness.
Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 can cause or increase emotional distress and anxiety. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed, isolated or powerless is more common during an infectious disease outbreak. It helps to stay connected with loved ones, relatives and friends. Becoming active and helping others is a remedy for depression. Suicidal tendencies often come to people who are self-absorbed. C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Jesus and you will find Him and with Him everything thrown in!”
It helps to pray and read the Bible which provides the greatest source of comfort and peace. It also helps to hear music or sing praises to God. The Bible teaches in Genesis that it was not good for Adam to be alone or isolated. Studies show frequent church goers were half as likely to be depressed and had greatly decreased likelihood of suicide and lived seven years longer. The Bible says in this world you will have troubles but choose life. Christians are to extend grace and mercy to those suffering from depression and those suffering from thoughts of suicide and those caught in the aftermath when it breaks hearts and takes away a loved one. The Bible says Jesus is near to the brokenhearted and Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted!

D.D. Nave
Elizabethton