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September 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day (see: https://www.iasp.info/wspd/about/), and all of September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S. Since suicide is a tragically sad occurrence throughout the world, let's examine both global and U.S. facts and ways to help prevent suicides.
Everyone has difficult times and heartbreaking events in her/his life. And most people find healthy ways to cope and eventually return to a stable disposition.
But sometimes, some people feel so overwhelmed with a problem or various difficulties that they consider suicide.
Among the problems that sometimes lead some people to think suicidal thoughts are abuse and domestic violence, anxiety, bullying, depression, family, grief and loss, serious illness, loneliness, substance abuse, having had an abortion, and a terminal illness diagnosis.
Jeannette Hall, who was diagnosed as having inoperable colon cancer, was given six months to a year to live. Instead of fighting the cancer with radiation and chemotherapy, she decided to seek physician-assisted suicide, which is legal in the U.S. state of Oregon. She then asked her doctor to write a prescription that would cause her death. But her doctor, a radiation specialist, had a better idea. For the rest of this inspiring story watch and read it here https://dailysign.al/454NGDb.
The U.S. has one of the highest suicide rates among wealthy nations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, suicide was responsible for the deaths of 48,183 persons in the U.S. - which is approximately one death every 11 minutes. And in that same year there were 1.7 million suicide attempts.
Globally, according to the World Health Organization more than 700,000 people kill themselves every year. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds.
And throughout the world 70 percent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries where poverty rates are high (see: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide). So, greatly reducing suicides is another commendable reason for us to work to end poverty.
No one need ever take her or his life. There are always good reasons to live. And there is lots of help available. Often family, friends, school counselors, clergy, a physician, a therapist, mental health clinics can be of extraordinary help. Find someone to share your problems with. Never leave serious problems bottled-up inside of you - instead share them! And please share this column with anyone you suspect may be contemplating suicide. And compassionately listen and talk with them.
In the U.S., there is the "988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline" that is available to help 24/7. Just dial the phone number 988 to speak with a caring professional suicide prevention counselor.
For suicide prevention help in various countries use this link https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/11181469.
Most of all, please always remember God is truly our best friend! He is always there to comfort us, to heal us in the way he knows best, and to bring us his divine peace. It is in realizing this wonderful truth, and thus taking our problems to the Lord in prayer, that we can surely experience God's fatherly love and healing. He is the Creator God, the God of life, who in the words of his Son Jesus said, "A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly!" (John 10:10). This is of the highest importance. Please always remember it!
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at email@example.com.
Watch our powerful 'Speakin' with the Deacons' episode on Mental Health and Suicide Awareness.
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