Life IS worth living!
That’s a message that must be heard more widely because suicide is a growing healthcare concern. In a first-of-its-kind report, the World Health Organization recently reported that 800,000 suicides are estimated to occur worldwide each year.
Tragically, fully a third of them occur right here, in India.
Yet suicide is preventable, according to experts. And they stress that preventive work cannot be limited to health care workers or governments. “Communities play a critical role in suicide prevention. They can provide social support to vulnerable individuals and engage in follow-up care, fight stigma and support those bereaved by suicide” says the WHO Report, Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative.
Clearly we cannot ignore the role that each one of us has in this.
Suicidal thoughts are usually a result of feeling hopeless, helpless and unable to cope with seemingly overwhelming life situations. At such times, a simple act of kindness or word of encouragement may help lift someone from their deep despair. It’s a good place to start – to reach out to your neighbor.
That fits right in the with the Bible requirement to love our neighbor. That is, not just our immediate neighbors, but everyone with whom we interact. That may seem like a tall order but not if we understand that every individual is equally valued and loved by God as part of His creation, and that our spiritual essence is actually the divine truth of who we are each created to be.
If we can help someone who is struggling gain this spiritual perspective of themselves, it can bring encouragement or even healing.
We ourselves benefit from cultivating this spiritual sense through daily practice. We become less absorbed in our own lives and more aware of and alert to others’ needs. That can act as protection, grounding us in divine Love, which leaves no room for insecurity, low self-esteem or depression. It’s the perfect preventive for suicidal thoughts because it brings with it the conviction that we are a valuable part of the divine creation.
My own spiritual practice of Christian Science has helped me get through overwhelming situations, to counter despair and helplessness through confidence in divine help and to bounce back.
Whatever your spiritual practice might be, tap it for the mental strength and resilience it can bring you to prevent suicides.
Suicide is never a solution. So reach out to your neighbor with love today. It can make a big difference – to both of you.
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