Twice this week, I learned of young men who died by suicide. They were both relatives of people I know. I had never met either of them, but I do know that they had people in their lives who loved them well and who now grieve their deaths.
These two young men were not alone in their mental health battles. During the COVID pandemic, adults have been reporting increased adverse mental health conditions. This is especially true among younger adults, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers. The impacts of physical distancing and stay at home orders, a COVID-19 diagnosis or having a relative with a diagnosis, or the death of someone close are all factors in the decline in mental health for so many in our nation. We are also living through a toxic election season and cultural shifts around race that add to the already enormous stresses of this year.
When the weight of the world is too much for you, remember that you are not alone. Remember that you are loved. You are beloved. Even if you can’t say you believe these words, just remember them. Say them over to yourself. You are loved. You are a beloved child of God. You are not alone.
When the weight of the world becomes too much for you, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
When the weight of the world becomes too much for you, call me at 214-537-8963 and I will listen to you, remind you that you are not alone and you are loved, and I will call the suicide prevention lifeline with you.
There’s an awful old idea that says suicide is the one unforgivable sin. This could not be more wrong. The God who created the world and breathes life into this creation is pure love and desires the fullness of life for all of creation. When a child of God suffers from mental illness so severely that she or he commits suicide, God meets that child with pure love and walks alongside the family in their grief. Romans 8:32 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ…neither life nor death. We hold tight to this promise whenever a loved one dies, whether by suicide or old age.
If you are feeling like the stresses of this year are weighing too heavily on you, your APC community is here for you. We have lost a lot of the activities that define being a church community during this pandemic, but we have not lost our most basic identity: we are a community of people who try to love this world as Christ loves the world and we are a community of people who care for one another. If you need support to get through these days, you are not alone. We are here to support you and walk alongside you. Call Ollie, Anne, Erin, or me. We are ready to listen and offer support to you.