During September, which was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the Church launched new resources to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts and their families. In addition, the Ensign in September featured the story of a member who experienced suicidal thoughts,shared an article to help others understand suicide, and explained how families can create suicide-prevention safety plans. In addition, both the Friendand New Era wrote articles to help childrenand teens know how to deal with depression or help others who struggle with it.
This month, the Ensign published another in-depth article titled Understanding Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention. Within this article, Kenichi Shimokawa, a doctor who works with LDS Family Services, shares five things Church members should remember if their family or another family they know experiences the suicide of a loved one.
Refrain from judging. While suicide is a serious matter, Elder Ballard also reminds us: “Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When [the Lord] does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth.”
Allow and respect each person’s unique grieving process. People will grieve in different ways, as their relationship with the deceased person is different than everyone else’s. So validate and honor each person’s way of experiencing grief.
When loved ones part from us, strong and even overwhelming emotions can overcome us. Experiencing grief does not mean a lack of faith, however. The Savior said, “Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die” (D&C 42:45). Grief is a token of our love for our deceased loved ones and what the relationship meant to us.
Ask for help. As you grieve, things can feel overwhelming. Reaching out for help can provide sacred opportunities for others to love and serve you. Allowing them to help can be healing and strengthening not only for you but also for them.
Stay connected.Some people mourn privately and can sometimes become isolated, so stay connected with your families and friends. Reach out periodically to your grieving family members, relatives, and friends, and offer help because they may not come to you.
Rely on the Savior. Ultimately, the Savior is the source of healing and peace. “His Atonement … provides the opportunity to call upon Him who has experienced all of our mortal infirmities to give us the strength to bear the burdens of mortality. He knows of our anguish, and He is there for us. Like the good Samaritan, when He finds us wounded at the wayside, He will bind up our wounds and care for us (see Luke 10:34).”