How should we respond to suicide?
Whenever a person ends their own life, we are reminded that there is a world out there that needs to know how much it is loved by God.
Suicide may no longer be illegal in the UK, but no change in legislation can ever minimise the damaging consequences of a self-inflicted death. The phrase ‘collateral damage’ is normally used as an euphemism to describe the civilian casualties of a military action, but it is also a very helpful way of understanding the impact a self-inflicted death. In that sense Gary Speed’s unexpected demise really did come as a ‘bombshell’ to all who knew and respected him. Speed, the ultimate professional and current Wales team manager, was found hanged at his home in Cheshire. The police have confirmed that there are no suspicious circumstances.
In much of the literature on the subject such casualties are known as ‘suicide survivors’, and need not be restricted to close family members and friends, as the trail of devastation caused by his premature death has shown. Fellow players, both past and present, have talked of feeling numb, while shell-shocked supporters have left scarves, football shirts and flowers across several football stadiums stretching from Newcastle and Leeds in the north to Cardiff in the south.
Time alone will tell how well his family and close friends will deal with the consequences of his yet-unexplained action. They are in for a testing time, for according to the American Psychiatric Association “the level of stress resulting from the suicide of a loved one is ranked as catastrophic – equivalent to that of a concentration camp experience”...