Suicide - a person intentionally
ends his or her own life. In the UK over 5000 people kill themselves each
year. Suicide drastically
affects families and friends left behind. Men are 3 times more likely to
commit suicide. Suicide rate among young people is rising. People sometimes
attempt suicide but hope they will be discovered before they die – this
is called a “cry for help”.
Main reasons for committing suicide:
Depression, schizophrenia or other mental illness.
Serious difficulties coping
with life, e.g. drink, drugs, money - the person cannot see any other solution.
a loved one dies and someone feels they cannot carry on without them.
someone feels so insecure and frightened they would rather be dead.
a person is unable to live independently and feels it would be better if
death came more quickly.
Serious or incurable illness, or someone is in so much pain
or is deteriorating quickly, they would rather die with dignity than let
it drag on.
Pressure: they feel they are not living
up to other people’s
Christian attitudes to suicide : In the past,
the Church taught that suicide was a serious sin; suicides were not allowed
a Christian funeral, or buried
in holy ground. Survivors were severely punished. They believed it showed a
deliberate rejection of God’s gift of life.
Today, the Church has changed. Much more is known about depression, stress,
grief and other causes of suicide. Instead of condemning victims, the Church
tries to understand, and support the relatives. Most Christians believe it
is wrong to commit suicide, but understand why people try it. The right response
to suicide is to be loving and forgiving. People should be helped, not condemned.
God chooses when we are born and when we die, not us.
Pain, loneliness or
depression might be for a reason: Christians believe that by suffering they
become closer to God, and share in the suffering
of Christ. They believe God sometimes allows suffering so we can learn.
Suicide is a refusal to learn the things that God is trying to teach.
is selfish: it causes much pain to those left behind. They may blame themselves.
It is harder to get over the death of a suicide, than
killed in an accident.
“You shall not kill”. Suicide
is murder of yourself.
“Don’t you know that you are the temple of God?” 1
Corinthians 3:16. Christians have a responsibility to look after and respect
because God lives in them.
Christians might support the Samaritans.
Started by Christians but open to anyone. Provides confidential emotional
support to anyone who needs it, in the
hope of preventing suicide. Increases public awareness of suicide and depression,
so that people will be more understanding and better able to help others.
By whom? The Rev. Chad Varah, Church of England vicar.
Why? He was the vicar at the funeral of a 14 year old girl who had committed
suicide. She had her 1st period, but did not know what was happening.
She thought she had a disease, but had no one to talk to. Chad Varah was
and felt there was a need for an organisation where people could talk
about their problems in confidence.
When it is available? Any time, day or night, 365 days of the year.
it operate? A network of volunteers on the end of a telephone or e-mail.
do the volunteers do? They do not give advice or tell the caller
what to do. They listen and help the caller to work out their own solutions.
Volunteers are from any background or religion, but can not express
their own opinions or beliefs to a caller. They work voluntarily, and this
Where are they now? Branches all over the country, overseas, drop
in centres for people who want to talk face-to-face, email service,
Why would a Christian support
the Samaritans? Not a Christian organisation
now, but Christians might support the Samaritans because:
It is a good way
of putting into practise their beliefs about the sanctity of life.
It is a good way of showing agape, unconditional love,
to those who need it.
Some Christians become Samaritans volunteers as a way
of putting their Christian beliefs into action, or might raise
funds, donate money,