The act of suicide has a profound effect on the people left behind — words are hard to form, and if anything, more questions come to mind than answers: How did this happen? Why? What led to it? Could it have been prevented? With all these questions, you would think that, by now, we would have found some answers that could end the suicide epidemic; however, statistics show that suicide is on the rise across nearly all demographics.
We often lose sight of this crisis until suicide takes the life of someone we know, either personally or from afar. Most recently, we are left contemplating the decisions of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
As you tune into news stations and social media platforms, you hear remarks about mental health reform and how we need to show less judgment and more love and compassion toward one another. These points are valid and important, but do they represent true solutions? How much change have these efforts generated? I am left asking: What are we missing?
The answer, I believe, lies in the Hope that comes from understanding the connection between Spirit, Mind, and Body.
A Bridge That Leads to Nowhere
First, we must stop building a bridge to nowhere and consider a different problem at the root of suicide: that suicide is more than just a mental health issue. While the act of suicide typically leads us to speak on mental health issues, I believe the issue is rooted in something deeper and that the mental aspect is just the gateway, or bridge, to the physical outcome.
In the holistic philosophy of “Spirit, Mind, and Body,” the Mind works as the bridge between the Spirit and the Body. If we look at the whole person in terms of Spirit, Mind, and Body — and in that order — a clearer and truer depiction of life, and what may be missing, is revealed.
As a culture, we tend to give a lot of energy to Mind and Body but neglect the Spirit, which leaves us off balance and disconnected from our true selves. I believe the only way we can stop physical acts of suicide is to first address the spiritual side of things, understanding that, without a solid spiritual foundation, the bridge of the mind cannot connect any solutions to the Body.
If we focus only on mental health, we have cleaned up the bridge, but it ultimately leads nowhere, resulting in more questions and, essentially, more physical harm.
Hope and Spiritual Healing
Second, we must consider a different solution to suicide, one that encompasses the whole person: we must focus on the Hope found in spiritual healing. For some, spiritual healing is seen as a kind of mystical hocus pocus, not something objectifiable or real. This is understandable considering that we have romanticized and idealized the Spirit through actions of deep meditation and breathing exercises without examining its condition or healing its brokenness. But to truly fight the suicide epidemic, we must consider the needs of the whole person and bring back the true significance of the Spirit.
The Bible states it this way: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The battle is in the Spirit! When we bring this scripture into the picture of suicide, we see that what we are really up against is a spirit that is looking to take our life away. We are battling not only our own spiritual disconnect, but spiritual attacks from the outside as well, which can leave us with thoughts (the mental bridge) that lead us to physically harm our bodies.
There is a war going on, and if we don’t address our real enemy and acknowledge the nature of the attack, we will always feel like one who brought a knife to a gunfight: in other words, hopeless.
It’s time we arm ourselves with the Spirit of truth and fight for our life and the lives of those around us. It’s the only Hope we have.
Robert Campbell, a.k.a. RAAH BARAKA (Keeper of Blessings), is a son, brother, uncle, husband, father and friend to many. His professional career has been spent helping individuals and organizations bring their ideas to life. His most important work has been as a shepherd to a small church group in San Antonio, Texas where he seeks to shed light on how to walk in spirit and truth.