Suicide Prevention and Intervention 

By: Dianne Christine Colbert


It was July 2, 1998, and I was having a lovely long chat with a good friend about the three weeks I had spent at home, and how much I had enjoyed it. It had been one of the best holidays. I was due to fly out to the USA in two days and return to mission life. Two weeks earlier we had a family “Christmas in June” which was the first time I had seen my younger brother for six years. It was also the first time we had a family photo with all of us together in many years. Often Ian’s visits and my visits to family did not coincide, and I don’t remember a time when all of us were together as a family for at least 10 years prior to this.

The call waiting pips sounded, and my older brother Don wanted to speak to Sharon, my oldest sister. Nothing could have prepared me for what followed as I heard my sister start to cry out; “Not Ian, not Ian.” The police had come knocking on Donald’s door to tell him the tragic news; our little brother Ian had suicided. I spoke to my brother Donald, and it was decided that I would drive with him and his partner Marg from Ballarat to Geelong where we would break the news in person to my mum and step-dad.

It was sometime between 10.30pm and 11.00pm when we arrived, I think we had phoned to let them know we were coming. When we arrived mum was bubbly and bright; I think she was just so happy for what she thought was ‘one last visit with her daughter before she returned overseas.’ We got mum to sit down, and then Don broke the news to her. This moment will be forever etched in my memory. The cry resounded once again “Not Ian, not my baby, not Ian.” Such anguish, such overwhelming grief, the shattered heart of a mother. No parent should ever lose a child. Losing a child to suicide has to be one of the most crushing experiences any parent has to endure.

The next few days were chaos. My flight to the U.S. was delayed for a couple of weeks; Qantas was so good in how they handled the change with no cost. Don and I got tickets to fly up to Queensland and take care of all of that needed to be done there. We needed to clean out Ian’s flat and arrange for his body to be flown back to Victoria for the funeral and burial. And most importantly, we needed to talk to people and find out what we could. There was such a big ‘why’ surrounding this. Why did our younger brother lose all hope and see suicide as his only answer? Why?

The pieces of the puzzle came together slowly. The Pastor of his church told us Ian had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder one year earlier. It became clear that this greatly impacted his ministry and church life. Ian was a passionate lover and wanted to serve God with his whole heart, this was his greatest desire and purpose. I remember at the interview with the police officers how they were surprised at the contents of his car, three Bibles among other things. I don’t think this was their usual suicide victim.

Ian’s elderly neighbors’ told us that he had withdrawn and sat in his flat a lot for the past 6 months listening to music, all his CD’s were praise and worship ones. It was obvious from what they said that Ian had been suffering with fairly severe depression during that time. One of his friends had asked him if he wanted any financial help and he replied “It will be all right. I’m just going to have a sleep.” In Ian’s pocket was a letter from the company where he had run his shopping trolley business. The letter informed Ian that he had lost his contract. I guess, for Ian, that was the final straw and he lost all hope.

I am now going to share what God has taught me about helping a suicidal person in answer to the cry of my heart, “Lord, if you can help me to help other families not to go through this, please use me.” This is a culmination of what I have learnt through people sharing their personal experiences with me, as well as education and training.

In order to prevent suicide, we need to first identify the warning signs. Often there are cries for help, but given in a way that they can go unrecognised. Click on the link below for some of the most common warning signs that may indicate a person is having suicidal thoughts and feelings, as well as some of the risk factors.


Below are links for information on how to help a person with thoughts or feelings of suicide.




You can also find help through the Mental Health First Aid guidelines here.

Apart from physical and emotional causes, there are also spiritual causes for suicide.

Spiritual causes of suicide – the Spirit of suicide

By: Dianne Christine Colbert

5 October, 2015

While I was in Austin, Texas, I was speaking with a couple that went on a mission trip to Nepal. Before they went, they were given a prophetic word that they would come across a river with a spirit of suicide over it, and they were to cast out the spirit. While there, they heard a river behind some buildings and asked a person if there was a river there, to which they were told that yes, and that it had a lot of suicides. They prayed over the river and the suicides stopped.

The following week I was home in Ballarat and shared this with a friend. They told me that there had been a school in Ballarat about 20 years ago that they had prayed over for the same thing – a lot of suicides had been taking place – and after they prayed the suicides stopped for a period of time.

The following week I attended a conference where a guest speaker from the USA talked about going to Columbia and praying over a bridge that had a spirit of suicide over it, and the suicides stopped. Three weeks, 3 different countries talked about. God had my full attention.

I believe that God is wanting us – Christians – to be more aware of the Spiritual causes of suicide and poor mental health, and to be actively praying that strongholds would be broken.

Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  New King James Version (NKJV).



Information and resources available on this website are not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor (such as your General Practitioner) or other health care professional, and medical professionals should always use their own clinical judgement before relying upon this information.  All Nations Christian Mental Health Association (ANCMHA) is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use (or misuse) of information contained in or implied by the information on this site.