Do people who commit suicide go directly to hell?

The questioner in this video asks a powerful question. Do people who commit suicide go directly to hell?

Points from the video:

  1. An absolute answer to this question is not something which we have.

  2. Would you want the way you meet the Lord be having taking your own life?

  3. Murder is the ultimate attack against the image of God.

  4. Suicide is an act of unbelief, a lack of faith, and without faith, it is impossible to please God.

  5. We cannot stand as judges to determine if a person has gone to hell after committing suicide.

  6. We must stand with the families of suicide victims and pray that God brings peace into that family.

  7. Whatever is not of faith is sin. If you violate a conviction God has clearly placed on your heart, it is a sinful thing to do.

  8. We need to balance the sovereignty of God with the responsibility of humans.

  9. Don’t use your freedom to violate your freedom. Do not violate the precious gift of life he has given us.

  10. God sustains us greatest in the dark night of the soul.
    He then quotes King George the VI quoting a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

  1. The wounded soldiers will serve best. When we come through the darkness, we will be better equipped for his service.

Questions:

  1. Is suicide an unforgivable sin?

  2. Have you found that you are better prepared to serve God after experiencing darkness in your life?

  3. What do you do in order to endure the dark night of the soul?

Personal Reflection:

I have experienced quite a bit of desert in my walk with God. Some really dry seasons. One story Ravi Zacharias shared that has helped me tremendously is one from when he was in England.

A storm with some very strong winds had blown through and knocked over some very large very old trees. He asked why tress so large and so old were not strong enough to endure the storm. The answer was because England is so wet. The trees don’t have to grow deep roots in search of water, and it compromises their ability to withstand the storms.

I think about that when I am in a dry time. How am I searching for that life-sustaining water? How am I pressing in? How am I using this time to grow stronger? If we are not actively searching for that which will sustain us, it will dry us out.

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What a sad but increasingly relevant topic. I’m concerned our society is getting accustomed to suicides happening. What if people widely come to believe suicide is an acceptable way out of trouble?! I’m not 100% sure someone may go to hell for suicide, but I think it’s possible. As Ravi said, only God can judge. Only God may know a person’s heart and mind in their last moments. One concern I have is if we do not have the deterrent of believing suicide will send a person to hell, what reason can we provide to deter someone from choosing suicide? If there’s nothing literally worse to face after death than what a person is facing alive, how can that person recognize their best choice is to live? Ravi spoke of life being a gift. And certainly it is. When someone’s life is so blackened by despair or torment of some sort, how can they weigh that out?

I’d like to add that I would in no way be comfortable saying someone will not go to hell for committing suicide. It’s such a delicate matter to try to talk about, but I’ve been concerned today that I didn’t clarify this; so, I’m adding this edit. I definitely would not want to say someone will not go to hell for committing suicide because that may be the wrong answer, and the ramifications for someone acting on that could be spending eternity in hell. That is nothing to risk.

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@Leah I agree. Only the Lord knows their heart and soul. I had one year where I attended 6 funerals of friends that had taken their life. Four of them were in their 20’s some were Christians some not really sure of their relationship with the Lord.
All were taken before their appointed time.
I am always reminded of the man on the cross with Jesus. He was going to be with the Lord in heaven.
We do not know the anguish are turmoil in their mind that drew then to take their life. We do not know what their thoughts were before their life ended.
I trust and believe that the Lord gives all of us a chance to repent and seek his forgiveness.
We will not know until we are in heaven with the Lord who was accepted and who was rejected.

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Your remarks about pressing in to find water during the dry times in life remind me of something my brother told me about roots. He expressed that, as Christians, we need to have a root connected to every scripture in the Bible. I hear people say, and have probably said myself, that we need to be rooted and grounded in God. Maybe being rooted and grounded in God is like that: being connected (through knowledge, faith, and trust) to the Word of God, which is in actuality Jesus. Every bit of it—every bit of Him—brings us life. Isn’t there a scripture about drawing water from the wells of salvation?

Your remarks also remind me of a hymn my church used to sing called “A Shelter in the Time of Storm” by Vernon J. Charlesworth:

1 The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide
A shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide
A shelter in the time of storm.

Refrain:
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,
A weary land, a weary land;
O Jesus is a Rock in a weary land
A shelter in the time of storm.

2 A shade by day, defense by night
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes affright
A shelter in the time of storm. [Refrain]

3 The raging storms may round us beat
A shelter in the time of storm;
We’ll never leave our safe retreat
A shelter in the time of storm. [Refrain]

4 O Rock divine, O Refuge dear
A shelter in the time of storm;
Be Thou our helper ever near
A shelter in the time of storm. [Refrain]

(Lyrics from Hymnary.org)

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I would say no, to this question. Ravi is so open and shares often about his dark night of the soul at 17 before he met Christ. In his recent chat with David Ruben on the Ruben report; he did say that his experience was not of a neurological disorder; and not a biochemical thing; but a loss of meaning. I personally still would never say to any relative who is going through the trauma of a loss of a loved one thought suicide; was it biochemical/neurological disorder or was it a rational decision to end their life. I’m not sure any suicide is a fully rational decision.

Here’s a couple of quotes from the youtube transcript(s); both are well worth listening to the whole address.

I suggest to you that the fact is this is a doctrine we need to understand, because once upon a time you had to go to places of pleasure, now pleasure finds you, and may if I were to tell you what is the most surprising and now unsurprising question that we are asked; and it’s coming from people younger and younger; 12, 13, 14

The question that is asked so often now as a young man a woman walks up to the microphone; ‘what is the purpose of my life why don’t I have the right to commit suicide, and take my life’ and as one myself who at the age of 17 attempted that and remember so well lying in my bed in Delhi staring at the ceiling thinking how empty my life had been how hopeless and even worse failing not only to live but now failing even to learn how to die. I had asked that question till I gave my life to Christ at the age of 17 having given a Bible that I had never owned before so this question of pleasure is real

a young man just a couple weeks ago was talking to me on the phone. 18 years old. asked by his father to me, would you please call my son, he’s struggling with suicide; so I picked up the phone and called this young man and I asked him a simple question. I said how long have you been struggling with something like this; I expected him to sort of stammer and stutter a bit and mutter around and think back. he said it all began when I got into pornography

I said really. he said yes. I said how old were you. He said 8. that caught me completely by surprise… it is also you’re talking about 10 years ago, just at the turning of this new century, this little guy got his hands into something that was wreaking havoc with his imagination and blunting desires that no one person in this world could fulfill and satisfy and therefore started struggling with taking his own life.

a psychologist I was mentioning last night speaking to the pastors here in town that a psychologist has come out with a staggering statement and here’s what she says: she said ‘the desire for suicide is the newest sexually transmitted disease’. She doesn’t mean literally, she means figuratively because once you have enjoyed what was reserved by God for the years to come and the consummate expression of marriage has now already been experienced by little one who cannot process it. Of having something without having any commitment to anybody and so the desire to end it all no future no hope it’s a very real thing.

One of my favorite essayists FW Boram to whom I’m in debt for this outline by the way not the talk itself but the outline because I’ll leave with you three principles before we are done (continues…)

It flows with the culture. But the notion of God as a real entity never entered my mind. Yeah, maybe during examinations. You know, God if you’re up there, could you help me? And so on. I never took interest, certainly not in the Christian faith.

Even though my ancestors came from the highest cast of the Hindu priesthood in the deep south. They were called (speaking foreign language). Then somewhere along the way there was a conversion that took place into the Christian faith. And that was lost. It became very nominal. So I was really raised, I didn’t have a single Christian friend. They were all either Hindu, Muslims or Buddhists. So we never talked about these things. And then having had a crisis experience in my life, that changed everything. - So, let’s talk about that. - Yes.

India is a culture of academic excellence. If you’re not doing well there, you’re in trouble. And it’s also a culture of shame when you’re not succeeding academically. So I did the horrific thing, it 'til this day embarrasses me, because I don’t like talking about it. It took me a long while to talk about it. I attempted suicide when I was 17. And it was not out of any neurological disorder, it was not any biochemical thing. It was the fact that I just didn’t have meaning. There was no purpose in life for me, David.

I was moving towards failure, after failure, after failure, in contrast to my brothers and sisters, and to my father. And so, tried to poison my system, I thought it was going to be successful. I just didn’t like the way life felt, and I wanted to kill that feeling. And to me, the only way to do that was, you know, what they in Belgium now, there’s such a high rate of suicides, they don’t call it suicide anymore. They call it opting out of life. That would have been a good description for me. But it was on that hospital bed, a Bible was brought to me. My body was dehydrated, I couldn’t hold it. But the man who brought it to me, and gave it to my mother. And Scripture passages were read to me. And you know, when you’re desperate, when you’re lying like that, words become very important to you. And when the words of Jesus were read to me, “Because I live, you also shall live.” That lit up within my heart. - What passage is that again? - John chapter 14 and verse 19.

I do wonder whether the ubiquitous access to pornography is one factor leading to mental illness, clinical depression, and suicide; due to the science now showing links to changes in brain chemistry. (https://fightthenewdrug.org/overview/); and personally I think fathers in particular need to stop putting their head in the sand, and talk to their young and teenage sons about the just how destructive it is; and point to God’s design as best for their lives; and in particular there is healing available in the person of Jesus Christ.

I would say that it’s very complicated and many many factors including family history, genetic predisposition to mental illness, traumatic life events can cause mental illness, complex metal illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others. To say that suicide is the unforgivable sin is (in my view) is not Biblical. The only mention of the unforgivable sin is in Mark 3:28-30 and Matthew 12:31-32; Billy Graham puts it this way;

Jesus responded by saying, “I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”

The sin of the religious leaders, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, was a refusal to accept the witness of the Holy Spirit to who Jesus was and what He had come to do, and then submit their lives to Him. Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit, “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). They chose rather to reject the Spirit’s witness to their sin and to Jesus, and accused Him of being demon possessed!

The point for us is that if we have received Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit; we have accepted His witness. One study Bible explains it as follows: “To commit this sin one must consciously, persistently, deliberately, and maliciously reject the testimony of the Spirit to the deity and saving power of the Lord Jesus.” If a person keeps doing that until death, there is no hope of forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.

Once again, the unpardonable sin is not some particularly grievous sin committed by a Christian before or after accepting Christ, nor is it thinking or saying something terrible about the Holy Spirit. Rather, it is deliberately resisting the Holy Spirit’s witness and invitation to turn to Jesus until death ends all opportunity.

(from: https://billygraham.org/answer/what-is-the-unpardonable-sin-i-am-afraid-i-may-have-committed-it/)

I have also heard it discussed that it may not even be possible to commit the unforgivable sin; as Jesus was there in person in front of the Pharisees; They blasphemed the Holy Spirit by attributing the work of God to the work of the devil.

What about Christians who are clinically mentally ill, or develop mental illness due to traumatic life events leading to clinical mental illness and commit suicide? No again, because Christians are held securely by God’s own power; in John 10:24-28; Jesus promises both he and God the Father holds Christians securely and gives to his sheep eternal life; and (plainly answers the Jews to be The Eternal God);

The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

A person responds to God’s gift of Grace, and commit ourselves in faith to Christ in trust of Who he claimed to be and His completed work on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9); and a legal transaction takes place (justification), adoption of sons (Galatians 3:4-7; Romans 8:15), the new birth (John 3). In verse 25 above; the Pharisees did not believe; and to those that do; the promise of eternal security is very precious.

Just my thoughts, hopefully somewhat helpful…

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Just another thought to add to the mix. Jesus said, by their fruit you shall know them. The fruit will either be good or bad. There is no in between. When someone commits suicide, what kind of fruit has been displayed?

Hi @ronliv2004,

Thank you for your reply! That particular scripture is referring to the testing of prophets, we shall know true prophets from false prophets by the fruit they bear. There are other scriptures that also mention knowing people by their fruit, but they are referring to the words people speak. Out of the abundance in a person’s heart they speak good or bad. I will certainly stipulate that a person, as a Christian, should bear good fruit through words and deeds.

I do not think anyone would argue that suicide is a sin and it is not what God would have us do. However, the question is, after one has received salvation, whether or not sin and going against God’s plan for our lives is going to keep us out of heaven. Looking at it in those terms, I would have to argue, no suicide does not keep one out of heaven since the issue of sin was taken care of on the cross.

I do now know of anyone who believes that receiving salvation means that the issue of our sin nature has been done away with. That is why we continue to need Grace, to renew our minds, to continue to develop in our salvation, to continue to be transformed into the image of Christ. This is why someone may continue to sin after receiving salvation.

However, the issue of works leading to life or death has been dealt with. The results of sins, eternally speaking, have been dealt with. So the consequence of committing the sin of suicide, I would say, were dealt with on the cross.

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There is another aspect also, that once one has tasted of the heavenly gift and rebels against
that gift, there is no more salvation as there has been only one sacrifice for sin. Jesus told

the disciples, not to rejoice that demons were subject to them, but that their names were written

in heaven. Jude talks about people being twice dead. The seed that was planted in ones heart can

be taken by the evil one, as the parable of the sower makes plain. Jesus said that it would be better if Judas had not been born.

God is the final judge, but there are many scriptures that point to salvation lost once gained.

Thanks for your input, and blessings in your future endeavors.

Ronald Livaudais

I certainly agree with what you have said here, God is ultimately the final judge! I just don’t believe any of these scriptures undermines the power of Christ’s saving work to save even those who have succumbed to thoughts of suicide. To me, while it is a very serious thing, it is not a sin which is unforgivable. Christ tells us there is only one of those. By no means am I saying that whose who commit suicide are doing the right thing. God has given us the precious gift of life as Ravi mentions in the video, and we are meant to steward it. But, sin is not something which can undermine our salvation after Christ’s redeeming work, save the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29).

Thanks for the conversation! Blessing on you as well!

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Thank-you for your reply Joshua. Let me make a couple of statements and then ask you a question.
The Bible says don’t quench the Holy Spirit. As you mentioned also blaspheming the Holy Spirit

is unforgivable. The Holy Spirit is the Person that convicts one of their sin and need for a Savior, Jesus. When one commits suicide, that is essentially ignoring and rebelling against the very Person

that is responsible for bringing relationship back to God. Could that be the essence of Blaspheming

the Holy Spirit? I think so, but as mentioned earlier the Righteous Judge has the last Word on this.

As Ravi mentioned, I wouldn’t want to face God after committing suicide, in essence saying that

I had no hope(God is the God of All Hope)and telling God He wasn’t strong enough to take me

through the dark night of the soul and give me purpose in life.

Enjoyed the response, continued blessings as we walk in His will!

Hi, @ronliv2004. You’ve got a good conversation going here. However, I believe you are still placing salvation in the context of works, which is contrary to the gospel. This is a rather challenging issue, but as far as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit goes, we cannot use that to support saying one who commits suicide loses salvation (due to blaspheming the Holy Spirit).

This could be said of any sin that someone commits after salvation. At this point, all of us would be guilty of blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. We need to be incredibly careful, therefore, how we are defining blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. We can get a clue about its definition from Luke 12:10:

" And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven" (NKJV).

Jesus draw a parallel here that helps us see how he defines blaspheming the Holy Spirit. He parallels “speaks a word against the Son of Man” with “blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.” It seems Jesus is suggesting that speaking evilly against the person of the Holy Spirit is blasphemy.

Any time we are interpreting a Scripture in this way, it is important to check our interpretation with other Scripture, and so we will look at Mark 3:20-30. We need to pause here to remind ourselves that there were no headings or separation of passages in the original writings. Therefore, we will do away with them here as they hinder our understanding rather than helping. As a result, we see that Jesus brings up the unforgivable sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit in response to the scribes accusing him of casting out demons by the power of Satan. This is a personal attack, speaking evilly, of the person of the Holy Spirit and the nature of this power. Jesus makes this clear when he says in verses 29-30:"…but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation–because they said, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’" It couldn’t be more obvious here that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is directly calling him and his power evil. This is not referring to one who has declared faith in Christ performing some sin.

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Just keeping the conversation going. The sin against the Holy Spirit is not a casual thing, but a
mindset, like the Pharisees had. That’s why when Jesus was on the cross and stated to God,

Father, forgive them for they know not what they do, he wasn’t referring to the scribes and pharisees,

but to the Romans, who were just doing what they were told. Jesus had already indicted the Pharisees

in that they consciously closed their eyes to their sin lest the Light of God would shed on their

darkness and they could find repentance. They wanted to protect the power structure they had created and Jesus was trying to destroy. They were Sinning against the Holy Spirit, the very Person and

Avenue where repentance can be appropriated.

As far as Christians sinning and falling short of the glory of God, a true Christian does not sin

as a lifestyle if their heart has been changed and redeemed. The Bible says if we confess our

sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin. That is a far cry from committing suicide and

committing the unpardonable sin.

CS Lewis stated, unless we have a piece of heaven in us(born again) we would not feel comfortable

in heaven. The Bible says we are citizens of heaven.

Jesus also said, not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom of God. This is a

sensitive subject and I would never tell anyone that their loved one who committed suicide was going to hell. A question worth considering also is, how many who professed to be a Christian and really

weren’t to begin with, were going to hell anyway, committed suicide as a result of their fallen state?

As mentioned earlier God, the Righteous Judge with make that decision, thank God, if I can put it that way.

Continued Blessings as we, the branches continue to remain in the Vine, Jesus, and produce much fruit, some 30 fold, some 60 fold and some even 100 fold. I want to be in that 100 fold group!

I agree with what Lindsay has said here. Suicide and blasphemy of the Holy Spirit are not the same things. I cannot think of any scriptural evidence to support the claim that it is. I understand your concern that a person who commits suicide may not really be saved, but there is no way we could possibly know that. There are those who struggle with sin their whole life who can be saved and there are those who live “perfectly” who shall not enter heaven. This is because salvation is not based on works. As Lindsay said, if you want to say that sin is equal to blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, we are all in trouble. Thank you both for your contributions!

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Apologies, @ronliv2004 for missing your response. We can’t go beyond what Scripture says clearly about a subject like blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, because that leads to misapplication. Thank you, Ron for your thoughtful replies. Thanks, @Joshua_Hansen for picking that up.

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I would just add that Suicide and Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit are two separate things, but just like the preverbal question of which comes first, the egg or the chicken, the key issue here is separation from God. If one blasphemes the Holy Spirit they are separated from God and that separation would lead to eternal separation from God. If one commits suicide separated from God, then that separation will lead to eternal separation from God, with the results being the same: Separation from God for eternity. As mentioned before, God is the final judge, but if we can’t use scripture as a point of reference in discussing certain matters of eternal consequence, then where else can we go to make that judgement?

If only we had the Old Testament. yes, that is an unforgivable sin. However, we also have the New Testament. What to say. There are people who cannot withstand the physical anguish caused by the disease. And this should be perfectly understandable to every Christian.

What disease are you talking about? Is God’s Grace only sufficient in some things and not in others? Is God’s Grace exhaustible?

This is such a good question. I had not long ago heard a simple reply that helped me to better understand the answer and that is when a person who is saved commits suicide they are in no more danger of losing their salvation than a person who is saved and in a moment of weakness tell a lie right before they die. The question could be: are we in danger of losing our salvation every time we sin, and more so if that sin kills us? I understand that suicide could mean a lack of trust in God, but how often do we go through life relying on our strengths more than God’s and therefore not trusting in God like we should? Should we lose our salvation for that? No, God knows we are weak and has never held that against us. It’s hard to imagine why a person who is saved would be driven to suicide, but not everyone’s walk is the same and we are all in different places in our faith. Some are weak and some are strong and our works demonstrate that. But we can’t say that suicide is the same as blaspheming the Holy Spirit and rejecting Christ. It does not have to be a heart of such rejection that causes someone to want to end their life. Someone who is saved may be in such despair that they want to end their life and go home to their Father. As unhealthy a mindset as this is, I am merely trying to demonstrate that suicide doesn’t necessarily mean rejection of Christ.
I have had some experience with mental issues that I never thought I would go through but am thankful because I feel I have a better understanding of people with depression. I have always been a light hearted and naturally optimistic person, never given to being very emotional or depressed at all. I don’t tend to worry and have always found being happy fairly easy most times, even when life can get rough. But something happened to meat one point in my life. I have had 12 children and after my 7th child was born I realized that every time I was expecting another baby I began to have panic attacks and feel fearful at certain times of the day or at the thought of labor. I couldn’t account for it as I’ve never had that problem when expecting and my pregnancies and labors were always fairly easy. I call what was happening to me “baby PTSD” as my symptoms were like a mild form of PTSD with triggers that reminded me of previous labors and deliveries. I learned that this can happen after repeated traumatic events and while I didn’t think my labors were very traumatic, my brain had decided to put those memories down in the fight or flight category. Around baby #10 I would break down in tears begging for God to take away the irrational feelings of despair and dread. It was a time that drew me so much closer to Him and with each pregnancy I felt less anxiety and more calmness and trust. He was able to deliver me from my irrational mental state and I feel like I can so much better understand the irrational despair people with depression go through and how it can be completely uncontrollable. So I try to imagine the state of total despair a depressed person can reach and that uncontrollable feeling of wanting to just end it all. They may not feel like they have the means to ever get better even if they have been saved. This seems to me the one thing that makes sense if a person who is saved commits suicide. The depression must be just that overwhelming and many of us can’t even comprehend what they go through if we have never experienced such depression.
So my answer would also be that suicide is not necessarily a one way ticket to hell. One who dies unsaved will be condemned and whoever dies and is saved will not. Total despair is not an unforgivable sin but just one of many weaknesses and we are all guilty of being weak.

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This thread and your response has really helped as I cope with a Christian friend who committed suicide. She was bipolar and may have been in a place where she couldn’t see relief. As a clue, she had tried to take her life previously - she said, “God if you won’t come to me, let me come to you.” At that time, she felt God’s presence and didn’t follow through, but did so the many years later - a month ago.

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I am sorry to hear about your friend. Death by suicide is so tragic and severely hurts the loved ones they leave behind. I don’t know anyone personally who has died this way but I have known others who did and I can only imagine the pain, guilt, and despair they felt for their loved one. I am glad this thread has helped you Christine. :heart::heart::heart:

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