Suicide

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A woman who was rescued after attempting suicide said, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." But "suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems."

Thou shalt not murder

Catechism of the Catholic Church:
  • §2280. Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.
  • §2281. Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
  • §2282. If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
  • §2283. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

Seeking wisdom

Before Vatican II, the Church's discipline was to prohibit funeral Masses and burial in Catholic cemeteries for those who murdered themselves. That discipline has been relaxed in recent times, but it some areas it has had deleterious effects: there seem to be a large number of copycat suicides inspired by the drama that arises from spending time remembering and mourning a previous victim of suicide.

The Church's treatment of suicide in the past was a way of teaching that suicide is wrong. The prohibition of Mass and burial was intended to dissuade people from seeing suicide as an option. It was directed to the living and was about their future choices, not necessarily a declaration that the deceased was in Hell. It is a kindness to the living to strengthen their resolve to choose life.

In those areas that are plagued by suicide among the young, something like the old practice may have to be re-instituted.

Steve Johnson: "9 Warning Signs than an Older Adult May Be Suicidal"

According to Aging Wisely, “Older adults make up 12% of the US population, but account for 18% of all suicide deaths.” These are alarming statistics, especially considering that older adults are currently the fastest growing segment of our population. Below are 9 signs that an older adult may be suicidal, followed by information on how to find help.
Warning Signs of Possible Suicidal Thoughts
Image via Pixabay by omeralnahi
Some of these warning signs can also be possible indicators of drug abuse, addiction, or mental illness. An older adult may also have more than one of those afflictions, including suicidal thoughts. Due to these possibilities, it is crucial that the older adult seeks professional help. Some warning signs that an aging loved one may be considering suicide include:
  1. Stockpiling medications, seeking weapons, or other lethal means.
  2. Getting their affairs in order, writing or making changes to their will, making arrangements for funerals.
  3. Talking about their worthlessness, how they aren’t needed anymore. Also an apparent feeling of hopelessness and unwarranted guilt.
  4. Experiencing a significant loss, such as a spouse or other close relative or friend. Expecting the death of a loved one may also lead to dangerous thoughts and feelings.
  5. Preoccupation with death and/or suicide. The individual may talk about how they won’t be a burden to their family much longer. They may say their goodbyes. For example, they may say that this will probably be the last time that they’ll see someone.
  6. Constantly complaining, having serious mood swings, or excessive irritability. It may seem that nothing will make the individual happy.
  7. Giving their most precious things away. These may be treasured items that the person would never give away. But, they could be preparing for their suicide.
  8. Giving up on grooming and self-care. They may not care anymore, and none of their regular efforts matter to them any longer.
  9. Inability to think straight, remember things, or concentrate. Sometimes this may be mistaken for dementia, but it may be something more.
Help for Those with Suicidal Thoughts
One good place to get help for an adult who may be having suicidal thoughts, mental illness, or addiction is their family physician. Their doctor may be able to diagnose an illness or condition, or at least identify other possible causes for their behaviors or medical indicators that confirm suspicions. Their family doctor will also be able to refer them to a specialist or treatment center if need be.
Another excellent resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can call that number if you have a loved one who may be suicidal. They will offer you references, such as counseling or treatment centers, that are available in your local area.
about the author
Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life. Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.
This article was posted with Steve's permission.

Statistics

ULifeline:
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and the third leading cause among all people ages 15-24.
  • Almost 10% of college students seriously consider attempting suicide.
  • Among adults, 18-24 year-olds attempt suicide more often than any other age group.
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined.
  • Of the over 15 million college students in the U.S., an estimated 1,100 die by suicide each year (about 3 per day).
  • Every 2 hours and 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 dies by suicide.
  • Factors that can trigger suicidal behavior in college students range from difficulties adjusting to a new environment; a lack of adequate social or coping skills; academic and social pressures; feelings of failure or decreased performance; a sense of alienation and lack of social support; or the onset of mental illness.
"Protecting Life by Recognizing and Responding to Signs for Suicide."
  • 32,000 Americans die by suicide each year, a rate that surprisingly outnumbers homicide.
  • 816,000 attempted suicides in the United States annually.
  • Signs:
- preoccupation with death
- “I just want to sleep and never wake up.”
- feeling hopeless or worthless
- unusual visits or phone calls
- making arrangements and getting affairs in order
- giving away their personal belongings
- suddenly appearing happier and calmer
  • Asking a person about suicide will not make him or her suicidal.
- Are you having suicidal thoughts?
- Do you have a plan for your suicide?
- Do you have access to the lethal means necessary to carry out that plan?

Help is available

Call for help yourself

If you have questions about how to help someone who may be suicidal (including yourself), call:

Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR)

QPR Institute
  • Question the person about suicide.
  • Persuade the person to get help.
  • Refer them to people who can help.

Understanding and supporting depressed teens

"People contemplating suicide or experiencing the depths of a severe depression need to know they are not alone. From teenagers to college students, LGBT to the elderly, people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts need options, reassurance, hope and help."
"Depression and suicidal thoughts are two of the most frightening things a person can face in their lifetime. Unfortunately, acting on those suicidal thoughts is a far too common scenario for many across the world, including students. In fact, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for those between the ages of 15 and 24.
"This guide is dedicated to helping those who are suffering or have suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. It is also designed for concerned friends and family members who might be worried that someone they love will experience death by suicide. Finally, it is meant for students, so that they might spot the warning signs of suicide in others – or in themselves – and find the proper resources."

Links

Complementary materials on coping with stress

From Jon Selmy, Center for School, College, and Career Resources

Thanks

Kelly C. and Robbie informed me (moleski@canisius.edu) of dead links and suggested many new ones. Much appreciated!