It will come as no surprise that the amount of anxiety, fear, anger, disappointment, distrust, and disorientation has increased, that is, if what I hear in the confessional is even remotely a sampling of what the community is experiencing. Pandemic, politics, national disasters, personal losses are real, and they are really impacting us emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually! Each of us will handle these stressors differently based upon our upbringing, experiences, faith life, support network, and cumulative loss/stress-inducing situations. Some have lots of resources and support, others have less. Yet, what is important is that each person gets what they need to be happy, healthy, and holy.
For some, the stress and hurt can seem like too much. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm (like cutting) can arise. People can feel alone, isolated, and overwhelmed. But you are not alone! There are people who love you and want to help you. If you’ve had thoughts that you are struggling with, please share them with a trusted family member, friend, priest, or counselor. Too many people struggle alone. Such thoughts and struggles are much more common than talked about and help and healing are found in addressing them openly in a safe space. Such thoughts are typically a symptom of real hurts; hurts that can only be healed if they are tended with the help of others.
Now, I’m not a trained counselor or therapist, but I am your pastor. From a spiritual perspective, the Evil One loves to keep such pain and hurt in the darkness where he can use it to your harm. Bring it to the Light! As a pastor, I’ve had to preside at several funerals where the cause of death was suicide. And in every instance, the family and friends would have done anything to help or assist their loved one who was hurting deeply in ways they never knew. Suicide rates have increased by 35% since 1999. For a ProLife people and a ProLife Church, this is unacceptable. Please let someone know. You are precious. Your life is a gift. Healing is possible.
September is Suicide Prevention Month. Help save a life, even your own!
If someone tells you they are suicidal…
- If they are having active thoughts, with specific plans on how, call 911 and stay with them.
- If they don’t have active plans but don’t want to live anymore, encourage them to call the suicide prevention line or contact a mental health professional as soon as possible.
- Provide emotional support by letting them know you care and they aren’t alone.
- If possible, involve a friend or family member to help provide support and monitor safety.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline: 800-950-NAMI open 10am - 8pm
- Local Catholic Therapists https://www.archindy.org/humanlifeanddignity/mental-health.html
- National Catholic Partnership on Disabilities – Suicide
- Ave Maria Press Explores: Stress, Anxiety, and Mental Health
Holy Family, Supporting One Another, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries