Saturday November 17th is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day and many events are taking place around the world to remember lost loved ones and create awareness about supporting those who struggle with mental health issues. One church that is marking the day is Saddleback led by Rick and Kay Warren who sadly lost their son to suicide five years ago. In doing so they are leading the Body of Christ worldwide to focus on the importance of mental health.
This important day hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) brings together survivors of suicide loss and is officially observed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in the USA. People around the world gather together at large or small events in their communities, sharing their story and journey of grief. Saddleback Church are co-hosting an event for all who have lost someone to suicide, whether the loss is recent or in the past.
Pastor Rick made news headlines this past week when he was was rushed into emergency surgery for an intestinal condition. Fortunately he made a full recovery but may miss the Saddleback’s event, where his wife will be speaking along with a showing of the film, “The Journey.” The documentary shares the “hope, connection and resilience in the aftermath of a suicide loss” and you can watch the trailer below.
“Last year, more than 45,000 families heard the devastating news that their loved one died by suicide, leaving them in great need of comfort, hope and healing,” the Saddleback Church website says.
Rick and Kay Warren know this all too well following the death of their beloved son, Matthew, who suffered from borderline personality disorder, and committed suicide in April 2013. In an interview with Piers Morgan after that fateful day, Pastor Rick said, “I never questioned my faith in God. I questioned God’s plan.”
Many survivors have had similar questions. Some families are still reeling years after their tragic loss. But others, like the Warrens have decided to do something positive. The couple have become advocates discussing mental health and issues of suicide to the Body of Christ around the world.
You Can Fight Suicide
If you’re struggling, take the time you need today for self-care and reach out to someone you trust. Help is available, and you are not alone. Visit American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
This article was written by Jared Laskey, who’s family has had to deal with suicide loss. Read Jared’s tribute to his brother, Elias.