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Most people who have thought about suicide do not want to die; they simply want to find relief from the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain they are going through. Even righteous people like Paul have “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8) when they felt weighed down and in deep distress (see also Numbers 11:14–15; 1 Kings 19:4; Jeremiah 20:14; Philippians 1:21–24). Nevertheless, in times of trouble, like Nephi and Alma they “[knew] in whom [they] trusted” as they found that “God hath been [their] support” in “trials and troubles of every kind” (see 2 Nephi 4:19–20; Alma 36:27).
Although it is wrong to take one’s own life, a person who does so may not be responsible for his or her actions. Only God can fully understand and judge the situation. Elder M. Russell Ballard said:
“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. 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).
Suicide is a global public health issue that can often be prevented. While it is a complex situation with no single cause, the risks can be reduced when family, friends, ward members, and mental health professionals come together to help those who are struggling. Everyone can play a role in suicide prevention and should learn the risk factors and warning signs. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out and talk to someone who can provide the right help.
Sadly, despite our best efforts, suicide is not always preventable and it leaves behind deep heartbreak and emotional upheaval with unanswered questions for family and loved ones who need nurturing and support. Nevertheless, peace can be found amid such deep pain and anguish through our Savior, who “descended below all things” (D&C 88:6; see also D&C 122:8) “that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:12).