Depression and stress are at an all-time high. The COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted all of us. We may be adding more responsibilities onto our already full plates, attempting to teach our young children at home, struggling financially in the face of recent job loss, or have parents suffering in nursing homes. Many of our normal support networks are no longer accessible. When life becomes so overwhelming that there seems to be no way out of the pain, suicide may become a reality.
Not only is suicide a horrendous way to end a precious life, but the suffering felt by those left behind is intense and seemingly never-ending. Suicidal loss can overwhelm the survivors with its sudden and unexpected nature.
Many of our Marketplace Chaplains have “talked someone off the ledge” as well as comforted those who have lost a loved one. Because our chaplains are trained and experienced in supporting those who are struggling with suicidal ideation, they can provide that touch-point when it is most desperately needed. They are also prepared to minister to those who are left behind.
Our Marketplace Chaplains have shared these stories:
“The employee disclosed thoughts of suicide, many times in the past and attempted ‘a number of times’ in the last two years. While sharing with me a huge amount of personal discouragement, the employee indicated this was their first time ever saying anything about this to anyone. I responded that I felt incredibly glad and honored that the employee felt they could share this with me, but also sad that they had been in this dark place. In addition, the employee had lost a close female teenage cousin to suicide. I used suicide-intervention training in the long discussion. The employee said they felt relieved and happy that they had divulged this. Now they have suicidal ideation only rarely, and briefly.”
“An employee had a close friend commit suicide a few days before and was struggling to do his job. His friend came back from the war and couldn’t deal with being back, so he ended his life. The employee was greatly stressed and grieving, and also opened up about his family issues with spouse and children. While we were speaking, he had to get up and vomit. I believe it was from all the stress. I had a long talk with him after letting him share his story and feelings. He was crying and allowed me to pray for him. Turned out he had been an addict at one time and had walked away from drugs and gang life for the sake of his children. He also had a church background as a kid. We had a long talk about him getting back in church and surrounding himself with healthy relationships and support. He expressed that he doesn’t have any friends since he left that world behind and knew he needed new friends. I gave him a card to a church. We spoke for a long time with permission and gratitude from the lead supervisors. He seemed to feel relief after getting it all out and was able to get back to work.”
“The company had lost an employee to suicide over the past holiday weekend. The company’s Employee Engagement Team requested that the chaplains make a presentation on suicide awareness. They specifically asked to have chaplains lead it to demonstrate that the chaplains are approachable and non-judgmental. A PowerPoint was shared leaving room for plenty of discussion. People wanted to learn how to be more effective in these conversations.”
“An upset mother called today to say that her teenage daughter has threatened to commit suicide if her parents do not come back together. I stressed the importance of not taking this lightly. The daughter has a counselor that she has been seeing due to a previous threat and I asked the mother to call the counselor immediately so that she can be evaluated by a professional. The mother agreed to do this as soon as we hung up. I hung up and prayed for the mother’s wisdom and the teen’s safety.”
“An employee lost his son to suicide. Chaplain Debbie responded to the work site and sat with the employee’s wife as they waited for her husband to be brought to the office to tell him of their son’s death. The chaplain attended the funeral on Saturday. The employee’s wife called on Sunday and requested a visit as the employee was having a difficult time coping. The chaplains drove out to their home where they talked freely about their son and the events leading up to him taking his own life. We referred them to the company’s Health and Wellness Clinic as well as their Employee Assistance Program for several sessions of company-funded professional counseling. The Human Resources manager was very supportive to the employee.”
“I talked at length with one of the employees concerning the suicide death of a close friend. This bright, charismatic and smart teen was the best friend of the employee’s son. He used a gun to take his life. I listened to how the family was trying to cope and understand the tragedy. We prayed together. I passed on some literature about suicide.”
“Due to suicide deaths of employees at three company locations over a year and a half, company upper management, HR, and the lead chaplain organized a plan to provide Suicide Intervention Training for all the managers, HR staff, and chaplains for each of the company’s 22 locations. Positive input was received from upper management, company managers, and chaplains alike. They each felt better prepared to recognize the signs of possible suicide ideation and what to do as a result.”
“After meeting with this employee on numerous occasions and recommending this individual seek medical attention and counseling; this employee has found help meeting with a family physician who has prescribed medication and a counselor. This employee sounded so encouraged today and is finding hope in the days ahead; especially dealing with a younger child and marriage issues!”