Leading in the Midst of Tragedy – Thoughts on the Murder-Suicide of KC Chiefs Player Jovan Belcher

Yesterday morning Jovan BelcherJovan Belcher, linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs football team, murdered Kassandra Perkins, his 22 year-old girlfriend and mother of his 3-month old daughter. He then drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he briefly talked to head coach Romeo Crennel, thanking him for all that he had done to help him, and then committed suicide in his presence as police arrived.

How in the world do you lead in the midst of such tragedy? It’s unfathomable.

Until you have personal experience with it, you don’t realize how pervasive this problem is in our society. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. As of 2007 it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and disproportionately affects men, who are four times as likely to die from suicide, as women.

People I love deeply have wrestled with the specter of suicide. There are times I’ve felt helpless as how to help my loved ones because ultimately their personal welfare is out of my control. I can encourage, support, and listen…but I can’t be in control…and that can be debilitating.

Even though I can’t be in control, I can still lead, and so can you.

We need to shine a light on suicide and bring attention to how people can be helped. If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, seek help! You are not alone and there are people and resources to give you the help you need.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273 TALK (8255), is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In my local community of San Diego, Up2SD.org offers a wealth of information on suicide, its prevention, and resources available to help those in need.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness – it’s a sign of immense strength. Reach out to help yourself or those in need. It’s what leaders do.

3 Comments on “Leading in the Midst of Tragedy – Thoughts on the Murder-Suicide of KC Chiefs Player Jovan Belcher

  1. There is no reason for this tragedy people have got to understand no matter what u can get through life even with out prayer others out there will pray we just have to use common sense and sometimes realize that life is not fair or easy and there are avenues of help we cant be afraid to admit it and get help and quit being selfish i pray for these families and friends that jesus will comfort them

  2. we speak of a saddness that is as real as it comes,,,the mind of suicide is a mind of organized chaos that will not b penetrated with reason,4 it is over reason that has visited inside the mind unexpected,,simple words will penetrate where a PHD will not,,I could go on but not now,its to sad my heart swims with the fish and not just any fish BUT THE SOUL RIGHT DOWN ON THE SEA BED ,love respect,,

  3. Suicide is a compelling, out of control feeling that people have, that they can’t explain. It has it’s root in depression. Ultimately, it boils down to a godless system that has no natural cure for spiritual matters. God help us.

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