A Conversation Could Save A Life

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

Although autumn officially begins on Wednesday, September 22, it is safe to say that fall, defined as the season between summer and winter, has arrived. September has brought us the splendor of fall leaves, bountiful harvests, cooler weather, students returning to school, Friday Night lights, and … plenty of Pumpkin Spiced Lattes! 

If we are talking about the many reasons why September is so great, we need to add one more reason to the mix. My hope is that by the time you finish reading this blog, and after you have clicked a few links and read the information, you will feel empowered and more confident about starting a conversation with a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance. And this isn’t just any conversation. No, it’s a conversation regarding a topic that was once considered too taboo to mention, and usually involved people whispering. Now, there is a worldwide effort to bring awareness, action and support services to affect change and save lives. September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Organizations in the US and around the world are raising awareness on suicide prevention. This worldwide initiative is one that will de-stigmatize the topic of suicide and challenge all of us to make a difference in someone’s life, simply by having the compassion to ask, to listen, to give support and to stay connected.

The current year is a time where many of us are feeling extra anxious or troubled. Undoubtedly, the anxiety is exacerbated by following 24/7 news or social media outlets. With all the craziness in our world right now, it is even more important for mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members to unite to promote suicide prevention awareness. We need to spread the word that if someone is in crisis, there are many options available to help them cope. Just starting the conversation and asking “Are you OK? Are you really, OK?” is a small, but compassionate effort that could save a life. Reach out to organizations such as Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is available confidentially and 24/7 for everyone in the United States at 1-800-273-8255. To know the risk factors and to learn more about the warning signs, visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Healing, hope and help can happen. Suicide is preventable for everyone. By starting the conversation, listening without judgement, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicide and save lives.

Catholic Cemeteries Association provides services to those who are struggling with grief due to the loss of a loved one. This month, our September 2021 Bereavement Bulletin highlights the topic of Suicide Prevention and Awareness and can be accessed on the website www.clecem.org under the Information tab- Bereavement-Grief Support Newsletter, or by clicking here:

Also- to learn more about the signs of depression and how to help a loved one dealing with depression, read our blog:

“3 Things to Keep In Mind if You or A Loved one may be Battling Depression”- Click Here.

For more information or ideas on how to take action to help prevent suicide- Click Here.

Thank you for doing your part to start the conversation, and to help bring awareness to suicide prevention and ultimately, to save lives. 

Post written by Kathleen Gallagher McKiernan, Marketing and Communications Manager

Losing a Loved One to Suicide

Suicide is undoubtedly one of the most devastating tragedies. It knows no limits—happening to even the most faithful of people and families, leaving behind hurt, confused, and mournful family and friends. Losing someone to suicide differs from other losses, and therefore grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide also differs. If you have lost someone to suicide, please take some time to read these words of comfort.

Some questions will go unanswered

Often the first question asked after hearing someone died by suicide is “why?” While we do know some psychological and physiological reasons why people take their own lives, such as loss, failure, or mental illness, the loss of a loved one can still be emotionally confusing. As with any death, confusion is a normal part of the grieving process. However, in the case of suicide this confusion may be more severe. Often when people die by suicide they leave without supplying answers. There are questions that will never be answered, and you must learn to accept this mystery. Instead of focusing on why someone did what they did, focus on mourning in a healthy way.

Anger and bad memories are normal

Feelings of anger are common even in the mildest cases of grief. Following a suicide, however, these feelings of anger and abandonment may be heightened even more. Also, due to the circumstances of a suicide, those grieving may experience the negative memories surrounding the suicide and forget the more positive memories and experiences of the person who passed away. The most important step you can take when experiencing these feelings is too fully experience You must comprehend and accept your negative feelings before moving on to more positive memories.

Invest in yourself and be patient

It’s natural to feel guilty after a friend or loved one dies by suicide. You may feel like you missed a warning sign, or that you could have done something different that would have changed the outcome. It’s important to understand that you were not the only influence on the person’s life, and there are limits to your power and responsibility. Learn to forgive yourself and be patient with the process.

Learn to rely on others

Just as any other cycle of grief, the pain you experience after losing someone to suicide may cause you to put your life on hold. It may force you to change your routines, behaviors, and may just disrupt your life in general. It’s natural to feel flustered by new responsibilities, or even isolated by your grief. One way to help with both of these feelings is by learning to rely on others. Whether it’s a family member or close friend, reaching out to others for help and guidance during your time of need is a healthy and proactive way to work through your grief.

The tragedy of suicide is one that can be prevented in certain cases. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please know that there is help available. Please call the hotline number listed below, or share how you’re feeling with a trusted family member or friend. You are not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Post written by Katie Karpinski 

Information gathered from Bearing the Special Grief of Suicide by Arnaldo Pangrazzi