On World Suicide Prevention Day, which falls on Sept. 10, 2012, and National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9 – 15, please take a moment to read these timeless answers from Billy Graham. While God is the only one who can truly save a life, you can play a part in suicide prevention.
“Whenever someone writes to say they’re thinking about taking their own life,” said Billy Graham, “I wish I could sit down with them and do everything I possibly could to encourage them and persuade them not to take that final, drastic step. No matter how hard life has gotten, I know that with God there is hope.”
Through the years in his My Answer column, Graham has responded to countless people struggling with suicidal thoughts of their own, or with loved ones contemplating suicide.
Writing to a couple who wondered whether their niece was serious when she threatened to end her own life, Graham said, “The worst thing that could happen would be for people around your niece to ignore what she is saying—and discover only after it’s too late that she was serious. Perhaps she isn’t—but most people who end up taking their lives send out at least some signals in advance.”
Graham understood that some suicides are preventable, which is the rallying cry of National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15, and World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10. These campaigns aim to raise awareness that suicide is preventable; improve education about suicide; and debunk myths surrounding the act.
According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people in 2007. While suicides accounted for 1.4 percent of all deaths in the U.S. annually, they comprised 12.2 percent of all deaths among 15-24-year-olds.
The World Health Organization reports that almost 3,000 people commit suicide daily. And for every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives.
But great despair, pain and loneliness doesn’t need to end in death. There is hope—eternal hope—in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Suicide is extremely serious and tragic in God’s eyes,” said Graham, “and if someone who is reading this is contemplating suicide, I beg of you to reconsider and seek help for whatever your problem may be. God loves you—whether you believe it or not—and He does not want you to end your life. Satan does, however—and you must not listen to him.”
Instead, “put your faith and hope in Christ and His love for you. You are never alone if you know Him,” Graham added, “because nothing ‘will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:39).”
Turn to Him today, and by faith ask Christ to come into your life. “When we know Christ we are never alone,” said Graham. “He is with us, and so are our fellow Christians.”
Reach out for His loving hand today, and Save a Life—your own—for eternity.
If you need to talk to someone right away, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Articles and some of Billy Graham’s columns about suicide:
To my horror, I found my wife had overdosed on my heart medicine and was dying before my eyes. A letter on my pillow said, “Forgive me, Eddie, but life just hurts too much.” Frantic, I called an ambulance, and she was rushed to the hospital where they pumped her stomach and saved her life.
Read ‘Love in Action’ »
I’ve just gotten out of the hospital after trying to take my own life. Things are better with me now and I don’t plan to go down that road again, but how can I be sure I won’t? Will God help me?
Read Billy Graham’s Answer »
I’ve just been diagnosed with an incurable disease that will leave me weaker and in more and more pain as the months go by. Can you give me any reason not to take my own life right now?
Billy Graham responds »
Our son died from an overdose of antidepressants. He had struggled with depression for years, and maybe it finally got to him (although maybe it was accidental – we’ll never know). He was a sincere Christian, but if he did take his life, does it mean he committed the unforgivable sin and lost his salvation?
Read Billy Graham’s answer »
Last year, a friend of mine committed suicide after a long battle with mental illness. I feel so guilty, because I should have seen the signs of what was happening and tried to help him but I didn’t. Can I ever put these feelings behind me?
Hope from Billy Graham »