Suicide affects all of us, and involves so many devastating emotions. Grief (as one of the panelists refers to it, a very “complicated” form of grief), guilt (“What did I do wrong?” “I should have seen signs and intervened”), and, often, an element of concern for the deceased’s soul state (“Can they ever be forgiven?” “Were they accountable when they did this?”).
In this two-part episode, panelists Natasha Helfer Parker, Charn Burton, and Nicholas Maughn join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in an thorough discussion of suicide—offering education about its primary causes (what to look for if the person has given subtle clues about her or his intentions, how to best serve and be present for loved ones of the person who died, its many ripple effects pertaining to marriages and other relationships, survivor’s own mental health, etc.)—confronting bad information, cultural attitudes, and harmful theology, and suggesting helpful and healing notions about God and the type of universe in which we live. The discussion concerns all aspects of suicide and is conscious of the phenomena as a whole, but in the second part especially speaks directly to particular Mormon teachings—the hopeful ones as well as the ones that deserve being confronted and sent into oblivion. This is a very personal episode with powerful things in it for every person.
We look forward to your joining in the conversation below.
Links and Helps:
Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Suicide: Some Things We Know, and Some We Do Not” (Ensign, October 1987)
The Mormon Therapist (Mental Health and Straight Talking about Difficult Subjects blog by panelist Natasha Helfer Parker)
The Trevor Project (Crisis and suicide prevention organization especially for LGBTQ youth)
Suicide Hotlines you can call when you’re in crisis or are with someone in crisis
Fundraising for Suicide Prevention through community walks