The Crisis

Every single serious personal crisis doesn’t necessarily lead to a suicide. Nonetheless, every crisis has certain characteristics in common:

  • A high, accumulated level of stress, making the sufferer very fragile and vulnerable;
  • The sufferer’s inability to use normal methods to find solutions to personal difficulties;
  • The sufferer’s  inability to find outlets  for his/her frustration.

The sufferer experiences confusion. This can be a key growth opportunity in their lives; or, it can cause a tailspin leading to suicidal thoughts.

The word “crisis” comes from the ancient Greek word krisis, meaning “decision.” In every crisis, there is a choice to be made. Death should not be the only choice the sufferer can see available to them. Tunnel vision can take hold. The sufferer asks: Is there any other way out of the unbearable emotional pain? Events have knocked the sufferer off balance to the point that obstacles seem insurmountable.

The crisis counselor’s job is to get the sufferer to envisage other options. Encourage the sufferer to explore new ways of doing things, new activities, new experiences, and new ways of thinking about life. People with goals and a purpose to their lives don’t kill themselves. The crisis moment can become a mechanism for letting go of an old way of life that doesn’t work, and finding a new way of life that does work. As already stated, both authors of this handbook have found great joy and solace in creative endeavors, and have found that others too can channel their energies into life-affirming arts.

Book excerpt from Quebec Suicide Prevention Handbook (2014), Éditions TNT

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