A person dies by suicide somewhere in the world every 40 seconds, and more than 800,000 people die by suicide every year, according to the World Health Organization. It’s a grievous issue that impacts people from all walks of life.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expanded its suicide prevention resources for leaders and members to coincide with Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S. In addition, September 10, 2016, marks Suicide Prevention Day.
The new website provides information and resources for people struggling with suicidal thoughts, family and friends who are concerned about someone at risk and those who have lost someone to suicide. It also includes links to other websites that list warning signs and to crisis helplines around the world.A notice has been sent to Church leaders to make them aware of the new suicide prevention resources, which includes the launch ofpreventingsuicide.lds.org.
Also featured on the new website is the video “Sitting on the Bench: Thoughts on Suicide Prevention,” which the Church released in December of 2014. 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.
Another website that addresses serious public health issues, mentalhealth.lds.org, was launched in June. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that 90 percent of people who die by suicide also experience mental illness.
The current issues of Church publications also feature articles on suicide prevention. An article titled “Choosing to Live: Overcoming Suicidal Thoughts” appears in the September issues of the Ensign and Liahona magazines. “Understanding Suicide” was published in the New Era for youth, and the Friend reaches out to children with an article titled “Don’t Give Up!”
“Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide,” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in an Ensign article. “Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth.”
Experts say suicide is preventable but requires more awareness and action. This includes becoming familiar with the warning signs, to begin talking with those at risk and to be a friend to those who are struggling. Visit Befrienders Worldwide or the Mayo Clinic to learn more about the warning signs. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers tips on what to say.