Comments about ‘Battling the stigma of suicide’

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Published: Wednesday, April 24 2013 9:40 p.m. MDT

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Albert Maslar CPA (Retired)
Absecon, NJ

Military suicide deaths in 2012 were 349 versus 295 who died fighting in Afghanistan. Suicides in the US are the tenth leading cause of death, exceeding those from autos, and the third leading cause of death among the young, about 4,400 per year. These may be mostly from bullying and social problems, and not to be underestimated is pessimism about unending wars during lifetimes of the young. Suicide rates rise during recession, economic crisis, stress, and a general feeling of hopelessness, while suicide warning signs are missed until too late. Breakdown in basic family units removes a vital safety net, and the popularity of lottery is significant in that it shows that too many feel that winning the lottery is their only hope out of the economic morass affecting them. Welfare is not enough as more jobs are needed but nothing can be done for people, only fictional environment problems get all the grease.

HotGlobe
SAN RAFAEL, CA

No, ClarkHippo, nobody is claiming as you say that 99.9 percent of suicide in Utah is LDS caused, but yes, the two issues you described have been raised repeatedly, and with good reason. Notice, however, that this article mentions mental health, divorce, health problems, job loss, drug and alcohol use, but completely ignores the elephant in the room. This reporting is irresponsible because it contributes to the climate in which the many people with LDS-related suicidal impulses feel ignored and hopeless. Will somebody go kill them self after reading this article? Probably not immediately, and certainly not just because of this article, but it will add to despair. Reporter Emiley Morgan’s cover-up approach doesn’t just ignore the problem; it is the problem.

klink
Provo, UT

ClarkHippo, maybe you should read the article. It's people like you that are actually part of the problem. You're so quick to blame to the LDS church for all problems in Utahs, and because of that, you fail to see the real problems, and therefore cant help to correct them. Maybe you should also read Alberts comments also. He seems top capture some general reasons people commit suicide, and yet no where does he link all suicides to the LDS church..

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "ClarkHippo, maybe you should read the article."

klink, maybe you should read ClarkHippo's whole post.

amazondoc
USA, TN

@ClarkHippo --

"People who have either been disowned or belittled by their LDS family and friends because they are gay or lesbian."

Rejection of LGBT youth *is* a very important facet of youth suicide nationwide, with or without the LDS church.

According to a US Government study, called Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, LGBT youth are roughly FOUR TIMES more likely to attempt suicide than straight kids. Around 1/3 of ALL LGBT kids have attempted suicide at some point, according to some studies.

Suicide attempts are especially likely in LGBT kids who have been rejected by their families, who have been bullied, and who have experienced institutionalized homophobia.

Of course, all of these problems are more likely to occur in conservative states where a large percentage of the population considers homosexuality to be sinful.

I find it very telling that none of these facts were mentioned in *either* of the DN articles regarding suicide.

relinda
GAINESVILLE, GA

Being a memeber of the Church of Jesus Christ LDS actually helped me many years ago not to do that step. I also have a Son who commited Sucide after a tour in Iraq, 2008. He had Post Trauma Stress diorder. Many people who take their own life have been abused somewhere, sometimes in School, sometimes elsewhere. That they feel they are not worth anything. Thats why our Religion teaches to show love and support to everyone. Periods of depression are experienced by many people. I agree with Albert Maslar CAP.

DRay
Roy, UT

In one of our lds wards there was a suicide, prompting a woman to request an opportunity to speak to the ward adults about the subject...shortly afterwards that ward experienced 2 more suicides and the leaders wished they had not brought up the subject. In Japan a 16 yr. old girl stopped by our lds building to talk about her decision to commit suicide...we missionaries fortunately did not understand what she was saying, being so "green" and not yet proficient in the language, we proceeded to just teach her the first missionary discussion...she returned again and again and was baptized as the brightness of hope and light of the gospel touched her heart.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

There are many, misunderstood reasons why people commit suicide. In many instances the judgement for the deceased continues after their death. I hear more comments about it being "the easy way out" than comments showing true compassion. Perhaps people should stop judging others and just reach out.

DRay
Roy, UT

Look around you, cheer up the sad or depressed souls you see with a smile and give them a reason to hope, that reason being someone sees value in them as a person, and cares about their happiness. It can make all the difference.

Bridger
Midway, UT

The high demands of the LDS church are what has kept many I know from resorting to suicide. The deep conviction that there is something worth looking forward to beyond the trials of this life has been an immeasurable rock keeping many LDS people from falling so far into depression that it resorts to suicide. I'd be curious to see what the suicide rate is among LDS members compared to the national average.

@amazondoc- I really wish we could have an honest discussion about the LGBT issue without one side resorting to name-calling and vicious attacks. No one is allowed to take up the case that perhaps the suicide rate among LGBT teens and older is not only about public rejection, but that homosexuality is a psychologically unhealthy lifestyle. Call it God or nature, is it possible that there is something within the practitioner that has a difficult time completely accepting the lifestyle. The few studies conducted that suggest psychological harm from homosexuality have been shouted down in the academic community and quickly made to disappear. Lets add that to our list of issues that we are unwilling to honestly and completely engage when discussing suicide.

CT98
Saint George, UT

Our community in Saint George is reeling with this issue right now as a young 13 year old girl took her life Sunday morning. It has really affected many here and there was a special program on one of the popular radio stations this morning discussing how we can talk with our kids about this problem. Very sad. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

beetdiggingcougar
Vancouver, WA

I know this doesn't seem like a big thing, but changing the words we use will help as well. There are several media outlets that no longer use the term "committed suicide" as that is based in the belief that it was a crime and the offender wouldn't be allowed to be buried in certain cemeteries. The phrase "he/she took his/her own life" might help in removing the stigma for those left behind.

ClarkHippo
Tooele, UT

@HotGlobe

You said, "No, ClarkHippo, nobody is claiming as you say that 99.9 percent of suicide in Utah is LDS caused..."

Nobody except those who make their living attacking the LDS Church, along with those who follow their websites, or those who comment on the website of Salt Lake's other prominent newspaper.

@klink

You said, "ClarkHippo, maybe you should read the article."

Actually I did read the article, but since I knew somebody was going to simply blame the LDS Church for nearly all the suicides in Utah (Just like the LDS Church is blamed for all the other negative statistics related to Utah) I decided to beat them to the punch.

My point was, those who continually shout, "This is the LDS Church's fault" are ignoring the fact that:

1. Utah's population is becoming more and more diverse. We're not all just white Mormons anymore.

2. There are many factors related to suicide, as mentioned in the article.

3. There have been some Utahns who have committed suicide even though they're not LDS.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

I've felt the pain from suicide several times, in cases of both close family and friends. In some cases I've tried desperately to intervene and others that were completely "out of the blue". I've even felt the frantic downward spiral of thinking that has given me some personal insight into the pattern that leads to suicide.

I've come to conclude that there are **many** reasons and precursors to lead people to the act, but that it is usually preceded by a deep and usually chronic introspection which tends to exclude others. This closed perspective seems to almost always result in a seemingly inescapable prediction of an inevitably dismal future.

Though I know it doesn't always work, my best advice for the "others" is to simply do one's best to be a friend and companion and get the person involved in **something** that will break them out of their inward obsessions and restore some fighting spirit. Good, professional therapy if possible. Try to let the person know that you love them.

It's a very hard thing to cope with, for the person and for everyone who knows and loves them.

amazondoc
USA, TN

@Bridger --

"what the suicide rate is among LDS members..."

According to a study from BYU on young men in Utah, kids that were *most* active in the church had lower suicide rates than the national average. LDS kids that were not as active, and non-LDS kids, all had suicide rates much higher than the national average.

"perhaps...homosexuality is a psychologically unhealthy lifestyle."

LGBT suicides are **known** to increase significantly with bullying, homophobia, and familial rejection. LGBT depression and drug use also increase significantly when new discriminatory laws are passed.

Nationwide, LGBT kids are 3 times as likely as straight kids to feel unsafe at school, and nearly **all** LGBT kids -- 90% -- have been harassed and/or assaulted at some point during the previous year. According to FBI data, the risk of being victimized by violent crimes is roughly **8 times** higher for LGBT people than for straights.

in 2011, a study in the journal Pediatrics found that conservative social environments significantly increase the risk of suicide for *all* youth, and especially for LGBT kids.

These problems are obvious and their effects are huge. But you want to focus on blaming the kids?? REALLY??

common twit
Salt Lake City, UT

As one who has struggled with suicidal thoughts since my early twenties (I am now 50), I hope to offer some insight into suicide. To see where I am coming from, I will tell a little about my demographic. I am white, lds, highly educated and have a loving supporting family. I have had extensive therapy and have been medicated.
Suicidal people do not care about going to hell or anything like that. That would be a much better place than they are in now. No matter how hard good intentioned people try, suicidal people are unable to see the positive. Or they don't believe others are telling the truth. Suicidal people are often jealous of others that have died. Suicidal people can find few redeeming qualities about themselves. The irony there is that others see the good things.
What has gotten me through the three imminent attempts is this...I would tell myself this, "I may kill myself someday but today I am going to stay alive until tomorrow." I truly believe I will kill myself someday but maybe I can stay alive one more day until I die naturally.
Just my thoughts.

washcomom
Beaverton, OR

What is at the root of suicide is a hopelessness - a feeling that one cannot go on with their lives as it is happening, and not knowing how to fix the problem. Some people keep to themselves. Others try and reach out, yet the telling signs are not being picked up by the family.

The idea that the LDS church is the cause of many of the suicides within the church is wrong. It all starts from a mental aspect. It could be that some people just don't have the seratonin and/or dopamine levels necessary to function well. For someone to tell someone else to "snap out of it" or "pray yourself out of it" just doesn't understand the human body itself. It is the mental part of the human psyche that is malfunctioning. When there is a drop in these chemicals, the person feels unsupported. Because of the drop in the levels, they cannot function well.

Educate yourself on these aspects before you come across someone who is thinking of suicide. You never know when you will need that info to help save someone's life.

Fern RL
LAYTON, UT

I liked this:

[Re: stigma]'"And when you have that kind of reluctance to look at the issue, to admit that it exists, how are you ever going to try and solve this problem?" Grey said.'

This "reluctance to look at the issue" could extend to less than obvious causes of depression.

Due to my experience and things I have read, I think we need to look at hypothyroidism as a possible cause. It also answers the question: "Why Utah?"

Until the introduction of iodized salt, Utah was the leading "Goiter" state. Now, many assume that hypothyroidism or goiter is not caused by lack of iodine because of the widespread availability of iodized salt, even though they also recommend avoiding table salt altogether--but while commercial products use only "plain salt."

It was depressing for me to be coerced into trying antidepressants while ignoring my hypothyroid symptoms. I don't think many doctors here follow the recommendations of the AACE and ATA to check the thyroid before prescribing antidepressants.

I would like to see tests screening TSH, FT4 and FT3 every 10 years, to also cover rare cases of hypopituitarism.

You can't see what you don't look for.

JimInSLC
Salt Lake City, UT

I can not imagine the kind of emotional or physical pain and despair that a person must be enduring to come to a point that they see taking their life as the only way to find an escape. People so suffering need to understand the atonement of Christ; That there is a way to unburden themselves of the pain. Unfortunately, those around them that love them are unaware that the person is suffering until it is too late. And then they are left to question what they could have done to have prevented it.

richd
Martinez, CA

As a parent of a child who committed suicide four years ago, you do not begin to know how painful their death is to the parents and siblings. I don't know the answers to this tradegy, but I sure wish I did. The only advice I would give is that for extended family members and friends to reach out to those left behind and reamin in constant contact with them.

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