The struggle against suicidal thoughts can be extremely lonely. Yet, if you have the support of friends, family, and community, the loneliness can become a bit more bearable. This ability to combat loneliness is why the concept of faith in regards to thoughts of suicide is so vital. Faith is more than just a connection with God. Faith is about a connection with other people in the faith community. Faith fosters hope, a sense of belonging, and a supportive community willing to provide both spiritual and practical foundations.
That is why organizations such as the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention have a faith branch within the organization. This branch, the Faith Communities Task Force, makes it their mission to provide resources, events, and campaigns to help prevent suicide from a faith perspective. With their Faith.Hope.Life campaign and the National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope & Life, the community comes together in their fight against suicide.
While faith can’t be the only support for one struggling with suicidal thoughts, it can be a major asset to fostering love and care for those that are truly suffering. However, someone struggling with suicidal thoughts still needs to seek help and support from mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.
However, religious leaders have a unique role–49% of Americans attend worship services at least once a month and hear the words of these leaders. This puts these leaders in a unique positioned to help shape healthy norms related to suicide and mental health. They can help reduce the stigma against talking about these issues. They can create a safe space for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and their family members to bring these concerns into the open.
You should definitely receive psychological help while dealing with mental illness and suicide; however, do not neglect the power of your faith community if you need help. This community can provide a sense of belonging and warmth as well as the knowledge that you are not alone. Your doctors can provide the medication that may be needed to combat this illness, but you can rely on your faith community to provide other beneficial resources, mentors, and programming to help you in your fight. Don’t dismiss your faith when it comes to suicide prevention. Add it into your repertoire of ways to help overcome the disease. It truly may be the missing link you need.