A Shrink Thinks

It is good to talk, even about suicide

It is good to talk, even about suicide
Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas Professor and Consultant in Psychiatry. Elder at Newcastle Reformed Evangelical Church.
07 June, 2022 4 min read

Suicide is a difficult topic, isn’t it? It is difficult in two senses. It is tricky because of the emotional and sensitive nature of the subject, making people want to shy away from discussing it. Yet it is well established that talking about and discussing suicide, even with those who are mentally ill, does not increase the risk of people taking their lives. It is in fact helpful for understanding and supporting such individuals. It is good to talk, even about suicide with someone contemplating it.

Suicide is also difficult to discuss because of the lack of explicit biblical teaching on the subject. It is true we have several suicides recorded in the Bible, such as King Saul and his armour bearer, Ahithophel (David’s counsellor), King Zimri, and Judas Iscariot. But in no case has the Spirit given us a clear evaluation of their actions. Certainly, Judas had sinned greatly in betraying our Lord, but the Gospel emphasis is on these wicked actions and not on the suicide per se.

Some have claimed, bizarrely and unhelpfully, that suicide is the ‘unforgiveable sin’.
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