What about … SuicideBy: Stephen Marsh
September 30, 2011
/Sigh. I’ll be missing the Priesthood Session. I’ll be at a funeral for a friend who committed suicide. That makes two ex-co-workers and a friend this year who committed suicide.
Seems like just about anyone or anything can commit suicide. Cultures, governments, institutions, people. Especially the people.
For a while the Ensign was running a story about once a year on depression and suicide, sharing the message that mental illness that leads to death is not the same as self murder and that those who fall victim to their disease are victims, not the damned. More recently there have been the materials on-line at http://lds.org/disability. Indeed, we’ve come a long way from the perspective that all mental illness was just considered weakness of character.
Only a trained professional should make a diagnosis of mental illness. It is often difficult for others to tell the difference between human struggles or behavior problems and mental illnesses.
There is some advice:
Ways to Help
- Learn about mental illness from professional sources, including LDS Family Services and mental health professionals. A bishop may give a referral to a licensed therapist through LDS Family Services.
- Treat the person with understanding and compassion. Reassure the person that Heavenly Father loves him or her.
- Remember that mental illness is not a punishment from God.
- Realize that a mental illness cannot be overcome by willpower alone. It does not indicate that a person lacks faith, character, or worthiness.
- Help the person develop confidence through knowing that God supports his or her efforts to cope and build strength.
- Do not take problems that are a result of the illness personally. People with mental illness may feel frustrated and upset because of the illness.
- Include the person in Church activities and appropriate service opportunities. Consult with the person, family members, and others who know the person well to identify limitations as well as strengths.
- Do not argue with delusional ideas or pursue topics that increase agitation. Be aware that stress can make the illness worse.
Mental illness may require a person to make major life changes. Where appropriate, prayerfully consult with priesthood leaders, family members and caregivers, professionals, and the individual concerning a need for change.
There are a number of other resources and essays, e.g.
But, the song to the contrary, suicide is not painless …
What would you say to the family of someone who committed suicide? To a recently ex-wife? To friends? To yourself?