By: Sarah Sargent
Suicide and self-harm are more than just a topic for a popular Netflix show. For this Shine blog, I decided to do a Q & A with a suicide attempt survivor. Because if statistics are right, you or at least one of your closest five friends has self-harmed in the last twelve months.
Ashley is in her mid 20’s and just recently graduated with her degree in childhood education. When she was in high school, she attempted to take her life. God intervened and made a miraculous change in her life. Now she is an advocate for mental health issues and warrior for Jesus Christ.
What have you learned from surviving a suicide attempt?
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It was such a dark place and I felt so alone. Immediately after, my family took me to church. I met people who loved me with no expectations. They loved me because God’s love lived in and poured out of them. Through them I learned God loved me.
What’s one thing you would tell a teen girl that was struggling with suicidal thoughts?
The biggest thing I would say is seek help immediately. I know you feel so alone, and it feels so dark. You may feel like you’ll be judged because of your thoughts but the reality is there is hope. There is an end to that, and you just have to seek help to find that hope.
To girls struggling with anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness, where can she look in the Bible for people struggling and comfort?
Elijah, Job, Naomi and David are a few. I think you first should understand that struggling with these mental illnesses doesn’t mean you are a bad Christian. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). There is a difference in being depressed and not having joy. I can be depressed but still have joy, because I have Jesus and He comforts me.
If they have concerns about a friend or family member’s safety, what should they do?
I know you will think you are breaking someone’s trust, but you should tell someone immediately. This is someone’s life. Someone you care about and love. It’s better to have them mad at you and get them help than to do nothing so you don’t hurt their feelings. Confronting them yourself may not be the best. However, telling an adult that could get them help could save their life.
“…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
(Ashley’s favorite Bible verse)