Suicide can be taboo in a lot of culture. People often don't want to talk about it feeling that talking about it, will make it worse, will make it happen. But it also mean that people affected by it, struggle with it, struggle to express their feelings, to find a safe place where it is ok to talk about it.
A counselling session is usually a place where it is safe to talk about suicide. During my training, I have learned the practical steps of doing a risk assessment but also I have worked on the impact such discussion could have on me, and how I can offer a safe place for client to discuss those thoughts.
'Therapy provides a sacred (as in set apart) place to ask client about their suicidal thoughts and feelings [...] To do so we need to move through the tension and fear aroused by thoughts of suicide and address the uniqueness of the person and their situation with all our skills and experience' (Spooner, 2019:16).
Talking about suicide is important, life saving.
In faith communities it can be even more complicated: how can I feel like this and believe in God at the same time. In some religion, it is also viewed as a sin, and people might struggle even more to talk about it by fear of judgement.
Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who was struggling to come to term with the news that a pastor ended his life. For the people left behind, it is often difficult to understand, and difficult to come to term with. It can shatter our beliefs and we might need to reframe some of our understanding around religion. It can also make it difficult to talk about it, 'the stigma over religion can prevent someone from sharing the cause of death and from seeking help' (Ash-Lameer, 2019:22).
And sometimes as witnesses of the hurt we might be lost for words, but what's needed might just be a safe place to express all feelings. A place where people can feel supported and able to walk through the darkness of the soul safely....
If you need help :
You can contact me to get support, I offer face to face and online counselling.
You can also get in touch with one of the following organisation:
Spooner K (2019) The value of therapy for people who are considering ending their lives, Accord, 104: 11- 17.
Ash-Lameer L (2019) Bereaved through suicide, Accord, 104: 21-23