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Dealing with Suicide and their Spiritual Implications

Updated: Mar 13

2023 was a tough year for me personally and professionally.


I faced many new challenges which were uncomfortable, with potential grave consequences to my future career. I had just got back from taking care of my mother who was diagnosed with cancer, and I found out about a pending matter against me.


In the midst of all of this, I was trying to pastorally walk with a few people who were struggling with their faith and mental health. One was a colleague. One was a random chick I had met at a Church worship night. The other was a friend I had walked with for years.


My colleague ended up in a mental health ward, on high doses of anti-psychotics. He had made threats to some pretty important people in the city, and his arrogance got ahead of him. The girl I mentioned is still walking on a journey of 'old lifestyle' temptations that keep her bound in spiritual darkness, trying to avoid a remission into the mental health ward, while at the same time turning to common substances to self-medicate the pain of life traumas I believe she has never properly dealt with.


The friend I walked with for years - committed suicide in front of me.


I had saved his life - and stopped him from taking his own life just one month before.


Needless to say, this trauma and grief has impacted me deeply.


I am a trained therapist, and I have worked with vulnerable people and communities in the past, including the Aboriginal community, as a case worker and counsellor, and I have worked in a live-in mental health unit for young people in another State.


Last year was my first experience of contending with the Western Australian mental health system. My personal experience of the system included nurses forgetting files, not having copies of reports, not providing access to belongings, the patient or important information when required, my phone calls not being returned, Psychiatrists not listening to patient needs and the list goes on.


After I informed the hospital of my friend's intention to harm himself, the hospital admitted him to a lock-down ward of the hospital, took his clothes, shoes, belongings, his Bible and any comforts away from him. He literally sat in a sterile room with only a plastic covered bed and plastic covered pillow in a hospital gown - they would not even give him a blanket or his Bible. Of course, I went into advocacy mode and fought for his rights.


I became his human rights advocate, and ensured he had what he required, including day-visits and access to day-trips. The next step was to meet with his Psychologist to discuss his therapeutic plan and his release plan. This would never eventuate.


Mental health is a complex issue, with childhood trauma, home environments, substance abuse, medication, adult trauma and other factors such as resilience, the experience of grief and other factors impacting on a person's mental health and their ability to cope with issues as they arise. Spirituality is a large factor in anyone's journey.


Of course, those experiencing severe forms to mental health challenges find it difficult to keep a steady job, hold down relationships, make commitments, follow through on promises, and create a somewhat stable environment to live in leading to a stable life.


This all contributes to the cycle of mental health, as the wrong medication, a lack of support, a lack of stability, a lack of purpose, meaning and a lack of hope all catapults the individual back into a place of despondency, dependence on substances for the purpose of self medication, self regulation and self preservation.


Those experiencing severe mental health challenges often get affected by medications, but they become so dependant on them that they cannot be 'normal' without them.


This leads to a concoction of artificial chemical dependencies which further affects the chemical balances of the brain, their hormones, their nervous system and therefore their emotions, their reasoning receptors and cognition capacities.


None of these matters are simple or easy, but, I am simply pointing out that medication given by hospitals and doctors often have side effects - both in the short term and the long term, and that those with severe mental health challenges often mix their with alcohol, drugs or other substances that add to the severity and complexity of their conditions.


This was the case with my friend.

I also saw how this had an impact on him emotionally and spiritually - believing that he was eternally condemned left him in the depths of despair - and without hope.


So, what is the solution?


I was the lead author of the Canberra Mental Health Amendment Bill 2014, which had a requirement to be human right compliant, since the ACT has a Human Rights Act.

The WA Mental Health Act has no such human rights considerations, as, the Human Rights Act that has been proposed in WA since 2007 still has not passed parliament.

I do have human rights concerns in relation to the WA Mental Health Act, but propose that the solution be for the legislation to meet human rights standards.



Of course, when it comes to mental health, prevention is always better than cure.


Some of these challenges that I mentioned are generational in nature, some are rooted in childhood trauma and other matters are so deeply ingrained in the person's psyche - thinking and behaviour - that they are often hard to entangle, given the lack of self awareness, the lack of honesty, the lack of transparency and accountability people in this situation carry.


Prevention means early detection.


Prevention means a strong support system.


Prevention means intervention into bad habits, thoughts, intervening on the habitual cycles of self destruction and self sabotage before it becomes ingrained.


Prevention means looking for alternate therapies, alternate diets, it often means re-education for positive habits and thoughts, and it often means that the person can feel hopeful in their coping mechanisms which allows them to contribute back to their society with their gifts and talents, therefore feeling a sense of purpose, knowing that there is support they can turn to, and a future full of hope.


This level of support and confidence is rare, but does exist among high-functioning sufferers, of which there are many.


Another solution is for the individual who suffers to go on their own journey of self-discovery, and in doing so, be willing to be painfully open, honest, transparent and accountable to the process of such a journey with trusted friends, family and professionals.


This process is imperative if the person is to finally rid themselves if their destructive cycles.


Without getting to the root cause of the matter, we can never fully recover or be set free.


This is true for all of us - for all of our circumstances.


We are spiritual beings, and, if we are truly to get to the root cause of any matter, we need to do a deep dive within.


Our spiritual health will often dictate our mental, emotional, physical, intellectual and psychological health. How is your spiritual health?


Unfortunately, one of the things that held my friend back was his lack of accountability, transparency and honesty with himself, others and God.


My friend refused to let go of certain things in his heart, he refused to confront the guilt he carried for a number of things, and in not being honest about these things and the extent of his drug use, it all contributed to his deterioration.


In addition to the fact that he had mates getting him extra prescription drugs to 'help' him.

Bad friends are the number one killer for people's recovery.


Although there are relatively average services provided in each State and Territory for those walking with mental illnesses, I strongly believe that if you do not deal with your internal struggle you have against yourself - including your spiritual self - you will never be free.


After my friend's passing, I wrote a book on the spiritual warfare that we all face against suicide, depression, anxiety, the feelings of 'not good enough', the fears, the rejection, abandonment, the orphan spirit, the shame, the guilt, to loss, the grief, the trauma, the dark feelings and forces we have to overcome in this world.



SPIRITUAL WARFARE FOR THE SAINTS goes through the following truths in the Word of God as a study guide for us to know how we can be set free!


In this Book, Workbook and Study Series, we cover:

  1. Satan’s Strategies

  2. How Jesus Overcame

  3. How The Churches Overcame

  4. The Devil, Unclean Spirits and Strongholds

  5. I share my friend Ashley Jame’s Story

  6. How the Mind, Will and Emotions Matter

  7. Prayer Strategies

  8. Altars

  9. Covenants

  10. Vows

  11. Curses

  12. Mental Health V Spiritual Deliverance

  13. How Do I Know If I Need Deliverance?

  14. Walking Delivered!

  15. Strategies to Break the Stronghold


This book, study series and workbook are for individuals, groups and especially leaders who walk with broken people. This is a practical guide to being set free.


You can pre-order your coy of the BOOK WORKBOOK or STUDY PACKAGE here.


You can be a part of our online study group here.


I hope to see you join us for a powerful time of teaching, releasing and repairing!




STATE BASED RESOURCES IN DEALING WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH


The Mental Health Unit (MHU) assists and supports Western Australia's Mental Health Services in delivering an evidence-based, patient centred, caring, safe, respectful and supportive mental health system for all West Australians.

The Mental Health Unit is responsible for developing system-wide policies for mental health services included in the Mental Health Policy Framework and has a role in the coordination, review and reform of public mental health services.


The aim of the Mental Health Unit is for a mental health system that includes:

  • Robust information systems

  • Continuous process of safety and quality improvement 

  • Integration of mental health systems state-wide

  • Accountability 

  • Accessibility 

  • Inclusivity 


The Mental Health Commission is working to establish mental health, alcohol and other drug systems that meet the needs of Western Australia’s population and deliver quality outcomes for individuals and their families. Our mission is to be a respected leader in commissioning, providing and partnering in the delivery of:

The Commission was established on 8 March 2010 to lead mental health reform throughout the State and work towards a modern effective mental health system that places the individual and their recovery at the centre of its focus. The Commission was created initially by transferring existing resources of the Mental Health Division of the Department of Health.


The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) recognises a continuum of supports built on the principles of human rights, recovery, coproduction, choice, social inclusion and cultural connection are essential to wellbeing, and we advocate for better mental health services and supports for all Western Australians. 

Our diverse membership includes community-managed mental health organisations, individuals, and those with lived experience of mental health challenges.  


If you experience a condition that is affecting your mental health and are looking for specific information about different types of problems then the ‘workbooks' or sets of modules in this section may be relevant to you. Some of the modules can be used on their own, while others are best used as part of the series; each workbook will have its own suggestions. We strongly encourage you to talk to your local doctor or a mental health professional about your difficulties as the information provided in the resources are NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis or treatment by an appropriate health professional.

Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment.


GETTING HELP

There are hundreds of mental health and alcohol and other drug services across Western Australia. You can get help by:


It's important that you find the right service for you and keep looking if you haven't found it yet. If you are ever in doubt, seek advice from a health professional such as your GP.

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