Original Research

Principles for pastoral guidance to women on matters related to suicide

Amanda L. du Plessis
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 48, No 1 | a1767 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v48i1.1767 | © 2014 Amanda L. du Plessis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 October 2013 | Published: 14 November 2014

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Amanda L. du Plessis, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

According to SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) there are 23 suicides and 230 serious suicide attempts in South Africa every day. The dynamics of suicide is highly complex and there are no simple explanations or easy answers. The SADAG article shows that suicidal thoughts during times of crisis are much more common than the average person would care to admit. Believers are no exception. Suicide offers an inviting escape from difficult circumstances to a desperate person. As such, suicide confronts the pastoral counsellor with a stressful and terrifying challenge. This article explores pastoral principles that can help a counsellor provide guidance to women on matters related to suicide and offers information on suicide in three parts. The first part of the article investigates the implications of suicidal thoughts or attempts and the effect of an actual suicide on the people who remain behind. The second part examines how the church’s views on suicide have changed over the centuries. The third and final part applies the outcomes of the first two sections to offer guidelines for current-day pastoral guidance to women based on scientific research into the field of practical theology.

Pastorale beginsels vir die begeleiding van vroue ten opsigte van selfmoord. Volgens SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) is daar daagliks 23 selfmoordgevalle en 230 ernstige selfmoordpogings in Suid-Afrika. Die dinamiek rondom selfmoord is hoogs kompleks en daar bestaan geen eenvoudige verduidelikings en maklike antwoorde hieromtrent nie. Die SADAG-artikel toon aan dat selfmoordgedagtes in krisistye baie meer algemeen is as wat die deursnee mens sou wou erken. Dit is ook geen uitsondering by gelowiges nie. Vir die desperate persoon kan dit selfs ’n aanloklike uitkoms in moeilike omstandighede wees. Vir die pastorale berader is hierdie kwessie ’n stresvolle en vreesaanjaende uitdaging. Hierdie artikel stel ondersoek in na pastorale beginsels wat van belang is vir die begeleiding van vroue ten opsigte van selfmoord, en bied inligting rondom die kwessie in drie dele aan. Eerstens is daar ’n ondersoek na die implikasies van selfmoordgedagtes en -pogings sowel as die effek van so ’n daad op die mense wat agterbly. Tweedens word die kerk se verskillende opvattings deur die eeue ten opsigte van selfmoord bespreek; en derdens word die bevindings van eersgenoemde twee dele aan die hand van wetenskaplike navorsing in die pastorale begeleiding aan vroue ondersoek.


Keywords

Suicide, suicide thoughts, suicide attempts, pastoral guidance

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