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The article “Understanding Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention” has been published in the October issue of the Ensign and Liahona magazine. This article is written for adults and youth by an LDS international expert who discusses the warning signs, prevention, and appropriate reactions to suicide.

It is important for members and leaders to be aware of these resources so we can actively support individuals who are affected by suicide.

Here is a brief excerpt from the article by Kenichi Shimokawa:

When Kevin was 16 years old, his parents went through a divorce. Around the same time, he discontinued the use of his epilepsy medication, which had helped stabilize his mood. Without knowing that he had a bipolar disorder, he began experiencing paranoia, debilitating mania, and severe depression. Medications did not seem to help. It reached a point that he felt so tired of everything, he decided to end his life without letting others know of his intentions.

Kevin recounts the day he attempted to take his life: “I was crying. I was just so tired, so emotionally drained. I was just looking at people, wanting someone, anyone, to say, ‘Are you OK?’ As much as I wanted that, I was hearing these voices [in my head] saying, ‘You have to die.’ . . . The whole time begging myself not to [go through with it], but the voices were too strong, I just couldn’t fight them.” 1

Tragically, no one noticed his distress. Convinced that no one cared for him, he made the attempt—but miraculously survived.

Can we feel at least some of his overwhelming distress and desperate, silent cry for help?

Suicide is one of the most difficult trials in mortality, both for those suffering with suicidal thoughts and for surviving family members. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “In my judgment, there is no more difficult time for a family than when a loved one takes his or her own life. Suicide is a devastating family experience.” 2 Considering the serious nature of this trial, let us discuss (1) what we know about suicide, including its warning signs and things we can do to help prevent it; (2) what surviving family members and communities can do; and (3) what we all need to do to strengthen our hope and faith in Christ so that we do not despair.

Download a PDF of this article for printing.

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