Suicide prevention became the focus of the local advisory council I was on in Billings, Montana. From that focus eventually came a suicide prevention walk and a group specifically devoted to the cause.
Montana has had a per capital suicide rate that is among the worst in the nation for many years.
The last thing needed is another deadly method.
Even the suicides of people who had done despicable things disturb me greatly, such as deaths by suicide recently the leader of ISIS and a priest in prison for abusing children.
It’s the worst trigger of my post-traumatic stress disorder that I have, perhaps because I have known so many who killed themselves. Being in the mental health system in Montana for many years exposed me to many, many, many suicides. People think that if those who are suffering get mental health treatment they will be fine. That is just not the case, in my experience.
So in spite if the fact that the Catholic Church is an enormous trigger for my PTSD, the fact is that the one group of people who have the lowest suicide rate in this country is older women who attend Mass weekly. It’s been researched and I read about it in the L.A. Times, hardly a promoter of the Catholic Church. I then looked up the study. It’s valid.
Why would that be? Maybe because He’s there. He is. I can attest to it. And the Church does not teach that once you confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, you go automatically to Heaven no matter what you do the rest of your life. That’s a Protestant belief. It’s easy to see that if you’re really suffering and you feel assured of going to Heaven no matter what, you’d be more likely to take your own life. Of course that line of thought is not one that Protestant pastors want to hear. I attended a farm stress webinar and brought the idea up and of course it was not well received by ministers.
I would like for Pastor Rick Warren to consider the idea. I know his son’s death was a terrible tragedy. It’s not my idea to make it worse but somehow to address the implications of theological beliefs. Maybe they could modify them somehow for vulnerable people.
Also, I would like to ask Dr. Marsha Linehan PhD whose Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is now considered the best method of suicide prevention. Does what she’s found help more then what she left? She was raised Catholic and now goes to a Lutheran church according to her memoir. That could have changed. She notes that having a belief system that involves negative consequences for suicide is a real deterrent.
It has been for me. I know for a fact I would not go to a better place. I am completely clear about that reality.
I have read accounts of near death experiences including one who took her life and then came back. Reading about Hell from those who have been there and back is one of the best deterrents I’ve found.
I have an illness with one of the highest suicide rates of all: bipolar disorder and on top of that I am a priest sex abuse victim and the suicide rate is stratospheric for us. The two combined make for an extraordinary risk as well as having a family whose actions seem to be encouraging that in me. Everything that they know is a trigger they have pulled and maybe it’s unconscious–or not. I am not biting though.
I am determined to be completely free of them so they can also be free to do whatever else they want to do other than abuse me. They can have the money. I mean it.
I have found One who is Provider, Protector and Guide. I have committed myself to Him completely and that’s that. Suicide is against His Law.
And my best weapon is the holy rosary. It’s non-violent and it works. I am very grateful to have a simple tool for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.