Sunday, September 10, 2017
Support For Families After Suicide
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day and a religious sister, who is the chairperson in suicide prevention in the Seoul Diocese writes her thoughts in View from the Ark in the Catholic Times.
The World Health Organization and the International Association for Suicide Prevention to emphasize the preciousness of life met in Stockholm Sweden in 2003 and together established the Suicide Prevention Day. Korea since 2007, each year remembers the day with academic meetings and programs for the prevention of suicide.
For the last 12 years according to the OECD, Korea continues to be the leader in the number of yearly suicides. In 2015 Korea had 13,513 suicides. Considering that the average family is 4 we have over 50,000 who are affected by the death.
According to studies made, compared to others, depression is 7 times more frequent and the danger of suicide is over 8 times more frequent in the families of suicides. Not only the deep sorrow but for those that remain, a feeling of guilt and helplessness for failure to prevent the death. The contrary feelings of anger and resentment towards the dead person are also often present. The living have to take responsibility for the debts that were incurred.
Consequently, we need to work for the prevention of suicides, work with those who have attempted suicide, and show concern for the families of those who have died by suicide. Society and the church need to be involved.
Since suicide in the church is taboo, those who contemplate or the families of the suicide, instead of receiving help, they feel alienated and afraid to be hurt again, many leave the church. Often the families try to hide the death because of the stigma associated with suicide in the understanding of many and the need, she emphasizes, for the church to be concerned.
In the 1917 canon law, those who died by suicide were forbidden a church funeral but this was changed in the revision of 1983. We pray for those who take their life and the families that they can get over their sorrow and despair.
The 'One Heart and One Body Movement' of the Seoul Archdiocese has a retreat and meetings of those who have suffered this loss.Those who have left the church are enabled to return and begin life anew. Many were able to exist a dark tunnel and return to a normal life.
She concludes with the hope that we will always be sensitive to the hurting of others and be quick with a smile of recognition and our outstretched hands, ready to listen to them and participate in their sorrow to give strength.