Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I am searching for the articles that explicitly link hope and suicide prevention. It’s surprising how little I am finding. Somehow I had expected to find more. Though some of the writing mentions hope, the word is usually in the title. After that, it’s not mentioned again.
Here lies a great opportunity for the growth of hope work. People like to talk about hope. In my experience, people who are thinking about suicide like to talk about hope, not in the first moment, but later, after you’ve heard them speak of suicide, after they get past that first terrifying few minutes of declaring that they don’t have any hope. They like to come at hope from the back door, to talk about what they would do if they were more hopeful. They like to talk about it in symbols. They can tell you about a picture that could remind them of hope if they saw it first thing in the morning, and then, as an act of hope, they can make a plan to hang such a picture within sight of their beds. They can name a person who comes to mind when they think of hope.
So often, when people talk to us about suicide, and we listen, we hear only the hopelessness. Hearing that, it falls to us to introduce the idea of hope, to open up the conversation. Here lies the opportunity for hope work, to develop the hopeful ear, to listen as a hopeful person would listen, with the conviction that the hope will be in there somewhere and we’ll find it, when we search. These are some early steps that we can take to link hope and suicide prevention.

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