Thu | Jan 18, 2018

Devon Dick | Suicide Sensitivities needed

Published:Thursday | July 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Recently, there was a report about a reggae artiste committing suicide. He was a brother of a well-known dancehall artiste. His address was given. It was stated emphatically that it was suicide. An attempt was made to interview the deceased's girlfriend to dispel rumours. The story was left hanging and one's mind could run wild.

This case was handled differently from the alleged suicide of a female politician. One report was that she died. Another report was that it is alleged that she committed suicide. Her exact address was not given. Although female suicide is uncommon when compared to male suicide, there was no analysis or any speculation or rumours.

It appears that depending on one's class the issue of suicide is reported differently. This is most unfortunate. The family members of someone who has committed suicide have already been traumatised. They are already blaming themselves for not doing enough or doing and saying the wrong thing. Reports by onlookers should be sensitive to persons who are mourning.

Most family members never really know or understand why the person committed suicide. Even decades after, family members are searching for answers. Young children are hit hardest. Family members do not forget this tragic ending and some remember it every day.

In the United Kingdom, it is said that suicide is one of the biggest killers of men under the age of 50. Suicide is now more widespread than at any time. In Jamaica, murder-suicide is becoming prevalent.




Why are men four times more likely to end their own lives than women? Perhaps if we can answer that question then some suicides could be prevented. Perhaps, for a man, it could be the fear of losing someone he loves dearly and feeling that life is not worth living without her, or it could be an ego thing in that he cannot manage being dumped and seeing another man in a relationship with his former partner, so he kills her and then himself. It could be midlife crisis of losing job and fear of not finding a job to meet necessary expenses or it could be mounting debts or terminal illness. Or, are some persons, with their personalities, prone to suicide?

People need to remember that suicide is no respecter of persons. At the June 2016 meeting, Bishop Howard Gregory of the Anglican Church reminded the gathering of Baptist pastors that a young pastor had committed suicide. Recently, 42-year-old pastor of First United Methodist Church in Ohio committed suicide in his church-owned home. His untimely death followed an adulterous affair with a church staff member to which he admitted. Many pastors suffer from depression, burnout, guilt, and some believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; and some don't have a close friend.

Psychologists point to several reasons for people committing suicide, from depression to stressful life situations. Whatever drives someone to take his or her own life ultimately begins in the mind. Suicidal thoughts come before suicide. In fact, every action we take starts with a thought. Many of the harmful actions we take originate with a thought the Devil feeds our minds. That seed grows as our minds reason out the benefits of acting on the thought.

We need to provide emotional support to persons who are prone to suicide; get men to talk about stuff affecting them. And after suicide, there should not be a code of silence. Instead, let family members, including children, talk about it until they are adjusted.

Family members can be helped to get past the tragedy of a family member committing suicide by others providing support and being sensitive to the needs of the family.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to