While in Australia we became aware of the high suicide rate among farmers as well as others in the area in and around Brookton where we hope to be moving in the next couple of years. While in a public restroom Ryan saw this sign and it broke his heart.
“Before it all gets too much…Talk to a Mate!” The sad reality is that suicide is a major problem (not just in Western Australia but all over the world) and often people who are suicidal don’t know who or where to turn. Unfortunately, friends and family aren’t always equipped to recognize and/or respond when they see the signs of suicide.
Today, the church we attend had a seminar on suicide response, prevention and the gospels place in the conversation. Ryan and I are thankful that the gospel has a message of hope, even in the most hopeless places, which is often where people find themselves when considering suicide. We realize there is still a lot for us to learn but we want to be thoughtful in our preparation and capitalize on opportunities, like attending this seminar, in order to help equip us for the realities we will be facing in Australia.
There is a good chance that even if you have never considered suicide, you probably know someone who has tried or know someone who has died by suicide. If not, statistically speaking most people will be impacted by suicide in their lifetime. There are many resources available now thanks to technology, Virtual Hope Box and MY3 are two apps that can help. They both provide information and resources for those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide but they can also be helpful for family and friends who are looking for ways to help and respond. More information is also available at: suicideispreventable.org and of course there is still a place for an old fashioned phone conversation. 1-800-273-TALK is the US national suicide prevention hotline.
Although we wish a phone number and website could solve this problem, we recognize that it’s not that simple. It takes courage to ask a friend how they’re truly feeling, to hear the cries (however subtle) for help, not ignore or dismiss them and to respond thoughtfully and to take the necessary measures to get good professional help. Ryan and I are continuing to learn and respond well to the reality of suicide. For us the conversation isn’t over but just beginning.