LDS.org quietly updated its entry on suicide this week. The previous entry, which was shorter, led off with information on suicide prevention hotlines and links to support groups for those experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Now the entry starts with the following assurance:
Most people who have thought about suicide do not want to die; they simply want to find relief from the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain they are going through. Even righteous people like Paul have “despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8) when they felt weighed down and in deep distress (see also Numbers 11:14–15; 1 Kings 19:4;Jeremiah 20:14; Philippians 1:21–24). Nevertheless, in times of trouble, like Nephi and Alma they “[knew] in whom [they] trusted” as they found that “God hath been [their] support” in “trials and troubles of every kind” (see 2 Nephi 4:19–20; Alma 36:27).
After that, some remarks from Elder M. Russell Ballard reiterating that while suicide is wrong, we do not understand the circumstances of one’s mind at the time.
I like the additional points near the end that stress how suicide has become a “global public health issue,” and one that can be prevented in many cases. It’s nice to see the Church taking a proactive approach when dealing with something as complex as suicide and also reminding its membership that we all despair, and sometimes that despair is something beyond merely being sad or bummed out about a certain thing. Sometimes it is chemical and emotional and out of our control.
The updated article is particularly timely in that September is the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Also, given much news coverage of late over Mormon LGBT youth who have taken their own lives, it’s good to see additional resources allocated to this cause.
I’m also reminded of the recent Mormon Channel video built around Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s outstanding General Conference address on depression, “Like a Broken Vessel.”
We can find peace through the Savior, even in times of duress. We can find hope.