Let the conversation begin.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Steps up in a Big Way to Address High Suicide Rates in the Mormon Community and in US
A recent article published at Huffingtonpost.com by Benjamin Knoll, Is The Recent Rise In Utah Youth Suicides Really Such A Mystery?, raised the question is the most likely explanation for rising suicide rates the: "clear elephant in the room: religious context." The article cites a report in the Salt Lake Tribune which reported that Utah health officials are grappling with a rising youth suicide rate that’s nearly tripled since 2007 and is now the leading cause of death among 10- to 17-year-olds in Utah.
Many anecdotes have linked the tragic suicides of LGBT Mormon youth to their perception that there is no place for them in their community. ... Anecdotes are plentiful, but more rigorous and systematic evidence on the potential link between Mormon religious context and youth suicides is not. ~ Benjamin Knoll, Huffingtonpost.com
How has the LDS Church Responded?
The Church has published a new website devoted to suicide prevention. The release of preventingsuicide.lds.org and other helpful resources September 8th purposely coincides with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September and World Suicide Prevention Day which was on September 10.
The new website is the second Church website published in the past 60 days that deals with serious public health issues. The Church's other website, Mentalhealth.lds.org went live June 21. The timing for the two websites is appropriate given that 90 percent of people who die by suicide also lived with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
The Church release on the new website states that other suicide statistics are equally concerning to them:
Author Benjamin Knoll concludes his article by stating "in the absence of a compelling alternative explanation, we argue that the link between Mormon religious context and the rise of youth LGBT suicides over the last several years is the most likely causal explanation." With that said, the LDS Church is obviously taking this issue seriously and has stepped up in a big way to help during September Suicide Awareness month, something our entire community can be thankful for as every resource is needed as we grapple with losing too many precious souls far too soon.
Personal note: I myself, am not religious although I do consider myself a very spiritual person. I also believe in sharing information from all faiths that support the cause of suicide prevention. My sister, who is the best sister I could ever wish for, has loved me unconditionally during my struggles with being gay, bipolar and a 3-time suicide survivor, gives back as President of her Ward's Relief Society; I wish to personally thank her for sharing with me much of the information above. If your church is also sponsoring events for Suicide Awareness Month, and you would like to share them with our community, please do reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you friends. Wishing us all light, laugher, love & hope.