World Suicide Prevention Day nears as many focus on resources and messages of awareness, prevention and hope.
Accra – September 8, 2023— By the end of the first half of this year 2023, 594 attempted suicides have already been recorded, says the Mental Health Authority of Ghana. In a 2019 study published by the National Library of Medicine, some 1500 cases of suicide are reported annually in Ghana. Suicide is more prevalent among those aged 15-29 (some studies go up to 35) years. The study also added that for every reported case there was an estimated four cases unreported. Then
there are the numbers who live with a lingering mental and emotional pressure to end their lives.
In connection with the World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2023 there is increased focus on suicide prevention and the practical ways to help people who may be enduring difficult times.
JW.ORG—the world’s most translated website—offers articles that focus on comfort, hope, and practical advice from the Bible. The article, “I Want to Die — Can the Bible Help Me When I Have Suicidal Thoughts?” provides some tips for those who are having suicidal thoughts:
Express your feelings
Get professional help
Remember that God cares
Pray to God
Meditate on the Bible’s hope for the future
Do something you enjoy
Take care of your physical health
Remember that feelings and other things in life change.
“We know that many people are facing severe challenges in this world,” said Nathaniel Ofei, Greater Accra Regional spokesperson for Jehovah’s Witnesses, “The Bible provides peace, as well as comforting thoughts for people who may feel hopeless or for those who are struggling. We hope some of the free Bible-based articles on jw.org may provide a measure of soothing relief for those who are suffering.”
The same article noted above, “I Want to Die —Can the Bible Help Me When I Have Suicidal Thoughts?”, also highlights Bible verses that show God cares about each person:
“Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit.”—Psalm 34:18.
“Throw all your anxiety on [God], because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:7.
“When anxieties overwhelmed me, you comforted and soothed me.”—Psalm 94:19.
The article provides suggestions for those who may know a friend who is having suicidal thoughts. Some include listening empathetically, urging a friend to get help, and showing love. “If your friend had a serious physical illness, you would encourage him to see a doctor,” the article states. “Suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of mental or emotional illness, so urge him to seek professional help. Even offer to go with him.”
The jw.org article, “What if I Don’t Want to Live Anymore?” aims to help young people. It encourages young people to talk to someone about their feelings. “There are people who care about you and who want to help. These might include friends and family members who won’t know what you’re going through unless you tell them,” the article states. Note some examples below.
Another series on jw.org entitled “Is Life Worth Living?” addresses how to cope with traumatic events, such as when a disaster strikes, when a loved one dies and when facing a serious illness. A highlight in the series is the article “Why Life IS Worth Living,” which emphasizes four points: God cares about you; Your life is worth living; Your life has meaning; There is hope for a better future.
Consider the following real-life examples. Sixteen-year-old Sam* lives with his unemployed father, sick mother, and older sister. Due to economic difficulties, he dropped out of school and to him all hope was lost. He started having suicidal thoughts to the point where he looked for an opportunity to end it all. However, when he read a jw.org topic, ‘The Bible Gives Hope’, he found a reason to live and to patiently wait for the beautiful promises detailed in the Bible. He and his family
also received practical assistance. Sam now has many solid reasons why life is still
worth living despite the challenges we may face.
Lydia* confided in a trusted friend that she was having suicidal thoughts when she was alone, especially at night. Her friend shared comforting scriptures from the Bible and encouraged her to open up to her husband about it, which she did. She and her husband were also assisted with the information in The Watchtower, No 1, 2023. During the discussion, a key point of seeking professional help was lovingly emphasized, which was followed through. Lydia is receiving ongoing
assistance, and is feeling and coping much better.
For more information, please visit jw.org. or contact: 0302712456 or email inboxPID.email@example.com. [If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the Ghana Mental Health Authority helplines: 020-681-4666/050-344-4793 or other state emergency lines for free and confidential support].
*Names have been changed.