Church Publishes New Suicide Prevention Website
Contributed By Camille West, LDS.org Church News
- New Church resources provide help for suicide prevention.
The Church has published a new website devoted to suicide prevention. The release of preventingsuicide.lds.org and other helpful resources September 8 purposely coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September and World Suicide Prevention Day September 10.
Preventingsuicide.lds.org is the second Church website published in the past 60 days that deals with serious public health issues. Mentalhealth.lds.org went live June 21 (see related story). The timing for the two websites is appropriate given that 90 percent of people who die by suicide also lived with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Other suicide statistics are equally concerning:
- One person dies by suicide every 40 seconds (World Health Organization [WHO]).
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 10- to 24-year-olds worldwide (WHO).
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 24-year-olds in the United States (Centers for Disease Control [CDC]).
- Suicide is the first leading cause of death of 10- to 24-year-olds in Utah (Utah Public Health Data Resource).
- Suicide rates are highest among whites and Native Americans (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [AFSP]).
- For every completed suicide, there are 25 suicide attempts (AFSP).
A notice from the Church dated September 8, 2016, encourages priesthood leaders to “actively support individuals who are affected by suicide” and make members aware of these new or updated resources:
- New preventingsuicide.lds.org website that provides information on how to help anyone who may be contemplating suicide
- Updated “suicide” entry in Gospel Topics (topics.lds.org)
- “Choosing to Live: Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts” and other articles about suicide and depression in the September and October issues of the Church magazines
Preventingsuicide.lds.org, currently available in English, provides essential information for those who are contemplating suicide, including links to crisis hotlines. It also describes proactive measures that people can take if they are worried about someone who might be considering suicide. Finally, it reaches out to those who have lost a loved one to suicide with counsel and comfort.
The website’s Help and Support section for people either struggling with suicidal thoughts or worrying about someone who is struggling includes a list of warning signs.
Also featured on the website is the video “Sitting on the Bench: Thoughts on Suicide Prevention,” which the Church released in December of 2014 (see related story). In the video, a young man named Seth shares what led to his suicide attempt and how he later found hope in the love and acceptance of his family and the Lord.
“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught. “Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth. When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth” (“Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not,” Ensign, Oct. 1987, 8).
What can I do?
Suicide is preventable but requires more awareness and action on everyone’s part. Preventingsuicide.lds.org lists these three actions:
- Know the signs. Become familiar with the warning signs of suicide. Visit Befrienders Worldwide or the Mayo Clinic to learn more.
- Start talking. Know how to start a conversation with someone you are worried about. Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for tips on what to say.
- Be a friend. Support someone who is struggling by actively listening to their concerns, being nonjudgmental in your comments, and helping them locate resources where they live. Visit Active Minds for more suggestions.