World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) invites us to reach out especially to them to encourage them speak about the death of the person whom they loved and about how it has affected them. It reminds us that suicide is about more than statistics, writes ANDY HAMILTON SJ.
For most of us the years of COVID have had their share of doom and gloom. In such a climate even small pieces of good news are welcome. One such report told us that the suicide rates in 2020 and 2021 had dropped from previous years. One reason why that was so welcome lay in the frequent warning that suicide was a greater threat in the world of COVID. Awareness of the risk may have led us to be more aware of warning signs and to reach out to people who were at risk.
World Suicide Prevention Day reminds us that suicide is about more than statistics. Each occasion when someone takes their own life is a tragedy for themselves and for their friends and relatives. The realisation that so many lives with all their possibility have been cut off, and that the passion for life has been smothered by disadvantage, by despair or by illness, is horrifying and affecting.
Every death affects others: parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, friends and acquaintances, who might need support to help them to navigate grief and trauma.