Friday, October 27, 2006


I just received the following article in an email from the medical school:
Over the past several years, the completed suicide rate for graduate students on the ____ campus has been on the rise.  While our rates are still below that of other Top 10 universities, it is imperative we find a way to reverse this disturbing trend.

Suicide is rarely an impulsive decision.  It is very likely that the suicidal individual may offer clues to close friends, roommates, colleagues, classmates, teachers, etc. There is no one demographic that can help determine suicidality in an individual, though international graduate students present the highest rate of completed suicides to date in our student population.  This may be a result of cultural issues and stressors.  Students may also turn to drugs and alcohol in order to deal with these stressors.  It is extremely important for faculty, staff, and fellow students to take note of clues that are offered, and to be aware of the University's Suicide Prevention Program. Your awareness about suicide may save a life.

For warning signs and advice on this topic, see this link. As that site points out, many people do have thoughts about suicide. But I know that when the thought presents itself to me, it's important that I "take it captive." If suicide looks like an option to you, don't just accept the idea because it pops into your head. Ask: what kind of an option is it?

Have you ever been so entrenched in a project (a doctoral thesis, a piece or artwork, or a jigsaw puzzle) that even the most minor distraction felt as if it was stealing time from your project? If life is your project, then suicide is equivalent to looking at your project and saying, "Humph, it's not worth it!" Will you ever be given the option of taking up that project again?

Love life. Love God. Doing these two things doesn't necessarily mean that your thoughts will be positive at all times (and anyway, I'm not sure if that can be accomplished without medication). But when we begin marveling at God and, for those who are Christians, realizing that we are God's servants and workmanship, then we see that these lives aren't ours to end.

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