Today is World Mental Health Day - Focus on Suicide Prevention


I know my last couple of these "National Day" threads have been more light hearted, but this one is pretty serious. 

This year the World Health Organization's focus is on suicide prevention.

I remember growing up Catholic in the 70s and 80s, when the church taught that suicide was perhaps the most unforgivable sin. We were taught that you can't seek absolution for killing yourself, so committing suicide was a one way ticket to hell. I don't know if the Catholic church has changed its teachings about suicide, but I now find this stance to be untenable and reprehensible.

I also remember days when suicide was stigmatized as cowardly and selfish. I hope as a society we're moving away from that, into a place of understanding. I can't comprehend what would drive someone to take this action, but I can at least understand that someone might be going through something beyond my comprehension.

the who has a page of resources about understanding suicide and suicide prevention. I think in observance of this day I'm going to commit myself to 15 minutes I'm going through these resources and maybe learn a little something about recognizing suicide risk, and what I can possibly do to help someone going through this pain.


I was curious about the current teachings of the Roman Catholic church about suicide. I've read a few articles that all reference this passage from the catechism approved by John Paul II in 1992:

“grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.”

I think the key words there are "grave" and "diminish". "Grave" is a subjective term in this context. "Diminish" leaves some of the responsibility on the individual who commits suicide. It's an improvement from the days when someone who died by suicide was ineligible for a Catholic burial.

I'm not trying to turn this into a discussion of the Catholic church's policy on suicide, more exploring my own perspective as someone who grew up in the tradition. 

But I do think it's reflective of a broader societal tenet - no matter how bad things are we all have some measure of control over this choice. I haven't personally been affected by anyone's suicide so I don't know what my gut emotional reaction would be.


Thank you for raising this important issue. 

Last month we observed R U OK day, internationally, with the intention that everyone find a few minutes each week to send  a text to friends & family, coworkers and even neighbours, just to let them know someone notices and cares if they respond. 

* I was in my local social security office yesterday and the case worker assisting me (a really helpful and creative person) mentioned that the office was devoting the week to supporting each other's mental health, and awareness of community support resources.  It's a regional staff project. For the office workers, there's a mix of fun stuff and more serious support planned, reminding people of the many ways the Dept encourages people to speak to their supervisor or HR.  

* Good Neighbour Day is in March, but we can be good neighbours all year, noticing if someone's routine changes, and checking all's well. You're not being nosy, it takes 2 mins to say G'day, how've you been? 

* On the car radio yesterday, I heard one person say a useful clue for recognising when it's time to seek support, is when the things that you used to enjoy no longer mean anything to you. For him, it was a bowl of his grandmother's mashed potatoes (his favourite food; he just couldn't eat a forkful) for someone else, it was an activity, or going to a certain place. He said  reaching out takes courage, but don't wait - do it. 


Thank you for continuing to raise consciousness on this important issue.

Our veterans are most at-risk. 


I think the biggest step we can take is to recognize that depression is a real disease.  Yes we all say we do, but do we really?  I dont think so.  I think when most people hear someone say they suffer from depression they shrug it off as that person just feeling sad.  Same goes for those who say they are depressed because they are sad for a day or two. 

I have not read up on this topic, but I would imagine the majority of suicides stems from people suffering from severe depression.   

Not knowing today was World Mental Health Day - Focus on Suicide Prevention, a close friend and I were just speaking about this very topic today.  We discussed all of the stigmas mentioned here and wondered if they have really disappeared.  That is a question everyone needs to ask themselves.   

Great topic to be discussed, it's a shame that MOL was the only place I saw or heard about the topic today. 

Thanks for starting the thread.

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