“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

Dear Friends,

Between the two high profile suicides this week, the Centers for Disease Control released it’s study on the topic of Suicide which noted suicide rates are rising. You can access the information on the CDC website. (Here is the link:

As a pastor, the first funeral I was asked to do was a suicide of a recent high school graduate. People said then what they often say today, “I didn’t think there was anything wrong. He seemed so happy.”

The New York times reported some of the findings of the CDC in an article entitled:
Defying Prevention Efforts, Suicide Rates Are Climbing Across the Nation (The link for this article is:

The Times article noted the following:

The U.S. suicide rate increased 25 percent from 1999 to 2016 even though the
rates of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment also greatly increased.

  • Nearly 45,000 Americans ages 10 or older killed themselves in 2016.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and one of three that is increasing. (The other two are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdose, in part because of the spike in opioid deaths.)
  • The national increase in suicide rates cannot be linked to a particular mental health diagnosis.
  • Social isolation, lack of mental health treatment, drug and alcohol abuse and gun ownership (easy to access on impulse) are among the factors that contribute to suicide.

Early on in my ministry, I remember sitting in an emergency waiting room when a doctor walked in and loudly asked, “Where is that guy that wants to off himself?” One of the nurses looked at another nurse and said, “I think we should call another doctor.”

This shows there is a certain stigma attached to thoughts of suicide and many do not seek help when it is needed.

In helping professions, of which mine is included, we are required get the person the required help needed.

The CDC posts these 12 warning signs of Suicided:

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

The CDC also post these 5 steps to help someone at risk:

  1. Ask.
  2. Keep them safe.
  3. Be there.
  4. Help them connect.
  5. Follow up.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

If you have such thoughts, please TALK. If you hear such thoughts, please HELP.


Ricky Adams
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California