In last week’s article, Is Suicide Something Everyone Considers? I included a survey at the end of the article to gather data related to suicide, including demographics, whether a person has a considered suicide, whether a person has attempted suicide, their reasons for ultimately deciding not to suicide, and more.
I’d like to share the results of the survey and make some commentary on what the data shows. There was also a free form answer about suicide in general that proved very insightful, so I’ll note some patterns I saw there. More than 600 people took the survey.
The first question was, “Have you ever considered suicide at any time in your life?”
85.5% said Yes
14.5% said No
Thoughts on Question 1
Although I was expecting the “yes” to be pretty high, I was not expecting it to be that high. The fact that 85.5% of people surveyed have considered suicide at some point in their life is an indication that most people feel some sort of despair or pain so deeply that they consider that death might be a better option to living.
The second question was, “What made you decide not to?”
The most checked box was “I didn’t want to hurt my loved ones.” By a distant margin the next highest checked boxes were “My suicidal thoughts healed with time” and “I was too afraid to actually do it.”
The reason least given was “I thought I would go to Hell” followed closely by “I got therapy or spoke to someone.”
Thoughts on Question 2
Not wanting to hurt loved ones is a powerful reason to stay on Earth. I myself would choose that reason above all others. I think it shows that the people who are hurting deeply enough to consider suicide understand pain so well that they don’t want to inflict it on others, especially those they care about.
I was surprised that so few people in the survey said they got therapy or spoke to someone. That could be because suicide carries a stigma around it and people don’t feel safe or comfortable discussing it with others.
I was glad to see that the thought of going to Hell was low on the list. That could be because the people who read my blog may have heard me say many times that there is no Hell and suicidal people go where everyone else goes.
Question 3 was “Have you ever attempted suicide?”
80.7% said No
19.3% said Yes
Thoughts on Question 3
I’m not sure how that compares to the national average, but that number seemed high to me. I also checked to how this was distributed among gender, and 77% of the people who said they had attempted suicide were female.
Nationally, men attempt suicide 3 times more often than females. So in our population that was certainly opposite. I’m not sure why that would be the case. While my website does attract more females than males, I would think the data distribution would still follow national norms. If anyone has thoughts on this let me know.
The fourth question was, “At what age(s) did you consider suicide?”
18-30 was the highest response followed closely by 30-50.
Thoughts on Question 4
I probably should have worded this question differently since the survey allowed people to check multiple age ranges, and I could see from the responses that if a person considered suicide they often checked three boxes (Under 18, 18-30, and 30-50).
So that basically tells me that people of any age think about suicide. There are probably different reasons depending on a person’s age. For example, younger people probably aren’t plagued with debilitating pain or terminal illnesses so their thoughts of suicide are probably related more to depression or emotional pain.
As people get older, I have to imagine money factors or debilitating pain come into play more often.
The fifth question was, “What is your gender?”
75% were Female
23% were Male
2% were Other
Thoughts on Question 5
I put this question in here mainly so I would know who is taking the survey. I can’t correlate this data to anything else. I know that my readers are largely female so I was not surprised by this response.
The sixth question was, “Would you consider ending your life if your emotional or physical pain became unbearable?”
40.1% said Yes
36% said Maybe
23.9% said No
Thoughts on Question 6
Putting the word “consider” in the question I think inflated the Yes responses. If I had asked “Would you end your life if…” then I think the Yeses might have been lower.
But this number is still staggering. I have suspected that a majority of people would consider ending their life if their emotional or physical pain was debilitating, and I believe this survey shows that.
The final question was, “What is your opinion on suicide, generally speaking?”
Here’s where I got to read hundreds of people’s thoughts and beliefs about suicide. I want to thank everyone who shared their story with me; your stories were insightful to say the least. Here is some of what I gleaned.
People are afraid of judgment on the other side
A lot of people said they believe suicide is understandable but they wouldn’t do it because they feel that they would be judged negatively by God. In my experience connecting with people on the other side, there is no negative consequence or punishment placed upon a person who suicides.
People don’t think you have the right
Several people indicated that if God gave us this body and this life that we have no right to take it away. They believe that God intended for us to suffer (ouch!) and a person must endure whatever pain they are experiencing.
I don’t agree with this. We have free will and we can choose how we want to conduct our lives and we can choose to end our life if we choose.
People think they would reincarnate to the same issues
A lot of people think suicide means you have to reincarnate and learn the same lessons all over again, that the pain will be the same so you might as well finish this life so you don’t have to go through the same suffering in the next.
I don’t agree with this idea either. Earth is not a school and you are not forced to learn lessons. You came here to experience physicality and you are entitled to live a life of free will and joy if you desire.
People think ending their suffering is a right
Many people subscribe to the idea that if a person’s life situation becomes unbearable they have every right to end it. We humanely euthanize animal companions and people believe humans should be afforded the same dignity. I agree with this. Your body, your choice.
People think suicide is selfish
A lot of people commented that they believe suicide is selfish since it causes so much pain to the loved ones left behind. I would ask you to consider this… “Isn’t it selfish to require a person in debilitating pain to stick around and continue suffering just so you can still have them around?”
Most people do not choose to die on a whim; they often spend months or years thinking about it and weighing their options. For a person to actually go through with it means they were at the end of their ability to tolerate the pain. Be compassionate and let them go.
People understand the desire to suicide
Many people said that while they themselves would not consider suicide, they fully understand why others do and think it’s no one else’s business if a person takes their life.
My personal belief is that you chose to come to Earth and you can choose to leave Earth whenever you desire. There is no judgment on the other side if you suicide.
In my readings with individuals who have suicided I’ve seen that some regret the decision and that others are very happy they did it. Everyone I have ever spoken to on the other side wishes their death had not caused pain to their living loved ones, but they were not in a place where they could continue to live with what they were dealing with and they want their loved ones to know that.
My hope is that anyone suffering from depression or anxiety has an opportunity to get help if they want it. I would love to see the stigma surrounding suicide disappear from society as I think more people would reach out for help.
I am a firm believer in death with dignity. If a person is suffering from a terminal illness or they simply cannot bear their physical or emotional pain any longer, I believe they should have access to assisted suicide.
To those who decide they are going to take their own life, I have one piece of advice. Take the time to write a letter to your loved ones so that they understand your reasons for going. The greatest hurt I have seen among families is that they don’t know why a person took their life or they feel it was their fault and they should have done more to help their loved one.
If you are suicidal, I highly encourage you to reach out to a loved one or call a suicide prevention hotline. Many of the people who staff those hotlines are intimately familiar with suicide. It sometimes helps just to know you are not alone.
Thank you to everyone who took the survey. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experience.