Resource Category: Suicide

Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. People considering suicide typically feel an overwhelming, never-ending (or continuous) sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair. They believe suicide is the only way to stop the suffering.

Suicide is a complex issue and should not be attributed to a single cause. Not everyone who dies by suicide has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and not all people with a mental illness seek to end their lives by suicide.

Many factors can contribute to someone’s decision to end their life, such as loss, trauma, addiction, serious illness, and other life events that feel overwhelming. Remember, it is the experience of the events (not necessarily the events themselves) that contribute to a person feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.

The language you use makes a difference. When talking about suicide or suicide-related behaviors, stay away from “committed suicide.” Instead, use terms such as “died by suicide” or “completed suicide attempt.” It is a common, and harmful, idea that those who died by suicide “commit” something wrong, e.g., a crime, a sin, etc., against themselves. And this blame only furthers stigma. We need to recognize that suicide is a disease that drives people toward self-harm and treat them without blame or shame. By changing the way we speak about it, we can begin to eliminate the stigma and criminalization of suicidal behaviors.

September is both National Suicide Prevention Month and the Jewish High Holiday season, a time where we are thinking about how to improve and nurture our own lives and the lives of the people around us. Hear the moving stories of a rabbi, a Jewish educator, and a mental health professional whose families have experienced suicide and suicidal ideation. Featuring: Rabbi David Kirshner, Mel Berwin, Ruby Falk.
By Ruby Falk | Anyone who has lost a loved one in an “unsavory” way — generally, suicide and/or an overdose — knows all too well the physical reaction you have when someone asks how your person died. It’s information we’re not so ready to give away until we know we can truly trust the person to hold this for us. This same level of recoiling doesn’t exist when we’ve lost someone to cancer or another illness. We’re much quicker to share the positive, happy, warm memories of that person. We remember the rich life they lived leading up to their passing, even if it was an untimely death. How is it still this hard for us (myself included) to accept that mental illness is as critical and life-threatening as any physical condition?
Mirror without a reflection with flowers covering the ground.
Innerbody seeks to provide objective, science-based information and advice that helps you make health-related decisions and enjoy a healthier, happier lifestyle, and has compiled some facts about rates of suicide in different populations, risk factors for suicidal actions, and information on warning signs and resources to help you. 
Rosh Hashanah is an exciting time of year. It’s a chance to reflect on our past and set our intentions and goals for our future. This opportunity for growth and achievement can be thrilling. But for people who didn’t think they would make it to the new year — because they were struggling with suicidal ideation, survived an attempted suicide, or went through a traumatic experience that left them emotionally drained — entering the synagogue and facing the prospect of a new year can be overwhelming. In those moments that feel daunting, we need to reorient ourselves, breathe, and pause. In other words, we need Rosh Hashanah.