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Thursday, March 7, 2019

"Suicide: Understanding and Intervening" by Jeffrey Black. A Small Review of a Small Booklet

Suicide: Understanding and InterveningSuicide: Understanding and Intervening by Jeffrey S. Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short read is helpful for caregivers, pastors, friends and family of someone who has voiced suicidal thoughts or seems strongly moving in the direction of ending their life. Jeffrey Black gives several useful explanations as to the inner workings of someone who may be suicidal, and a few beneficial ways to engage them and seek to help them.

This is a guide for the non-professional, and the author has listed several of the indicators that a person may be genuinely suicidal. Unfortunately I felt like some of the marks are missing. The pamphlet would have been even stronger if it had listed out more signs. Here are the standard symptoms (some of which are listed in the booklet and some that aren't): (1) Excessive sadness or moodiness. (2) Sudden calmness after a period of depression or moodiness. (3) Withdrawal including the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed. (4) Changes in personality and/or appearance, which may well show up in the sudden loss of concern about his or her personal appearance. (5) Dangerous or self-harmful behavior. (6) Recent trauma or life crisis. (7) Making preparations; beginning to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. (8) And threatening suicide. I lifted these eight benchmarks from the Cleveland Clinic's website, you can also find them on WebMD. I would add one more: (9) Having an accessible or likely plan for completing the suicide.

I found this small manual a good resource. I had my church elders read it, and we discussed it at our last elder meeting. This inexpensive pamphlet would make a solid addition to a congregation's book table, but would also be a worthy addition to a pastor's or elder's library. I highly recommend the booklet.


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