Category : Suicide

(Wash Post) Kay Warren–Who pastors the pastor? Even ministers suffer from suicidal thoughts

Wayne is not the only pastor or faith leader to experience mental illness, addiction, financial difficulty and thoughts of suicide. Sometimes the media blares the news of a pastor who dies by suicide, but often, they die quietly, unnoticed by many outside of their church and local community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for every completed suicide in the general population, there are 25 attempts, and thousands more who think seriously about ending their lives. Pastors are not exempt from these statistics.

Wayne devoted countless hours to the duties of a pastor — preaching, teaching, marrying, burying, visiting the sick, showing up in the wee hours of the night for those in need. Every step of the way Lynn was right by his side, working as tirelessly as they could to care for and nurture the congregations they loved. His sons, Rusty and Dusty, knew they could count on their dad to be at countless tennis matches and soccer games, no matter what was happening at church. He was fiercely proud of his boys and frequently told them so.

But over time, his life slowly began to change. Sometimes pastors and congregations don’t mesh well, even when there’s nothing really wrong, and Wayne and Lynn were asked to resign from a church they were serving. For the first time in his adult life, Wayne was no longer a pastor. Still in his late 50s with many years ahead of him, he was rudderless. He had never been great with money management, and he began to overspend, taking on more debt than they could handle. He started drinking too much. He found employment as a chaplain for a funeral home, but it just wasn’t the same as being a pastor.

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Posted in Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide

(GC) A painful question that needs to be asked: Why Pastors Are Committing Suicide

A few years before Craig Sanders lost his father to suicide, a music pastor in their South Carolina town took his life.

“I remember the superficial and judgmental anger I had toward him,” Sanders said. “How could you do that to your daughters? What a selfish act.”

When his own father, Larry, a pastor plagued by depression and insecurity, died, Sanders was also angry at him. But it wasn’t the same; this time, he sought to understand the complexities of mental health and other issues behind his dad’s decision to take his life. Sanders felt hurt at being left behind and frustrated with a pastorate that doesn’t make it easy to get help.
“I remember the last conversation with him on the phone. He said, ”˜Craig, I’m a failure.’ And I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said, ”˜Dad, you’re my hero. Do you understand that all my life I’ve tried to measure up to you? I’m at seminary because I want to be like you.’”

Larry’s depression, which was in part biological, had likely worsened from diabetes medication, church conflicts, and unhealthy comparison with other ministers, Sanders said. “He really got stuck in the comparison game. . . . He was doing a doctor of ministry degree and reading books on church growth, looking at models of how to make your church grow. He was like, ”˜If I’m doing these things and my church isn’t growing, what does that say about me?’”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(BBC Mag.) The Canadian town where 100 young people have tried to kill themselves

When Justin Trudeau came to power in Canada, he promised to repair the country’s relationship with its Aboriginal people, after centuries of discrimination. A disproportionate number of indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in recent decades, and suicide attempts have risen dramatically in some communities, writes Stephen Sackur.
Attawapiskat is hard to reach. Generations of Canadian politicians have never lent it a thought, still less a visit. But this ramshackle Aboriginal settlement south of Hudson Bay has been making national news over the past year for the grimmest of reasons.
Last October a 13-year-old girl, Sheridan Hookimaw, headed to the rubbish dump and hanged herself. Since then more than 100 of Attawapiskat’s 2,000 First Nation people, most of them teenagers, but one just 11 years old, have attempted suicide.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Canada, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology, Young Adults

US Suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63% last 30 yrs, for men by 43%

Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, a federal data analysis has found, with increases in every age group except older adults. The rise was particularly steep for women. It was also substantial among middle-aged Americans, sending a signal of deep anguish from a group whose suicide rates had been stable or falling since the 1950s.

The suicide rate for middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

The increases were so widespread that they lifted the nation’s suicide rate to 13 per 100,000 people, the highest since 1986. The rate rose by 2 percent a year starting in 2006, double the annual rise in the earlier period of the study. In all, 42,773 people died from suicide in 2014, compared with 29,199 in 1999.

Read it all from the NY Times.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Men, Middle Age, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Theology, Women

CDC investigates why so many high school students in wealthy Palo Alto have committed suicide

In Palo Alto, Calif., the shrill horn of incoming trains bring a constant reminder of young lives lost too soon. For the last seven years, Caltrains have been the suicide technique of choice among teenagers in the Silicon Valley town, where the adolescent suicide rate has soared to five times the national average.

It was in this way that a bright, popular, goofy kid named Cameron Lee ended his life in November 2014. By then, his classmates at Henry M. Gunn High School were all too accustomed to this sort of inexplicable tragedy. They hailed, after all, from a part of the country that had become known for its affluence, technical ingenuity and the number of kids that had been pushed to the brink.

“I am 15 years old and I just organized a memorial,” Isabelle Blanchard, the sister of one suicide victim, told The Atlantic.

It is an eerie refrain that has played out again and again.

Over the course of nine months in 2009 and 2010, six Palo Alto teenagers committed suicide.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Children, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology

(NYT) In a Marine battalion stalked by suicide, veterans struggle to save one another

After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.

He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.

He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Theology

(Post-Gazette) Advocates hope to harness power of social media to prevent teen suicides

Social media bullying has been blamed for suicides among teens and young adults, but now there’s a national effort afoot to use social media to prevent young people from taking their lives.

The basic idea is to provide online tools such as discussion forums and chat rooms for those who may feel despondent or disenfranchised to share their feelings and to connect them to resources that can provide help.

Other ideas include educating social media users to identify and react to messages that may indicate an individual is considering harming themselves and providing online mental health screening functions on sites that teens and young adults visit.

Those were among the topics discussed during a national online forum held last week by the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which hopes to harness the power of social media to help young people.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Pastoral Theology, Prison/Prison Ministry, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology

CofE: Statement following vote on Assisted Dying Bill

James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle, and lead bishop for the Church of England on health care issues, said: “We are heartened that MPs have decided not to change the law on assisted suicide.

“We believe that the proposals contained in the Assisted Dying Bill would have exposed already vulnerable people to increased risk. The vote in the House of Commons sends a strong signal that the right approach towards supporting the terminally ill is to offer compassion and support through better palliative care. We believe that all of us need to redouble our efforts on that front.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

Stephen Trott: Assisted suicide ”“ some reflections from recent history

As a law student in 1975 I studied David Steel’s Abortion Bill of 1967, which it was claimed would provide a remedy to the rigidity of the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, according to which a doctor performing an abortion where the continuation of the pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life, faced prosecution and even a long jail sentence. Assurances were given or implied that this would mean a tiny number of cases each year in which such abortions would be carried out legitimately in order to save the mother’s life.

However, as we have seen since the Act was passed in 1968, giving permission in what were thought to be strictly controlled circumstances for a tiny number of cases of medical necessity, has resulted in a dramatic change to our society and culture. The historic recognition of unborn children as human beings, and the legal protection which was afforded to them, has given way to an interpretation of the Act (which Parliament said it did not intend in 1967) by means of which roughly one in five pregnancies now end in abortion, carried out even for reasons such as gender selection.

Almost all frail members of society depend on society in some way for their well-being and in many cases for the continuation of their lives from hour to hour and day to day. They are able to trust the institutions, agencies and above all the medical profession quite literally with their lives…

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

[John Bingham] Right to die: MPs reject assisted dying law

MPs vote against enshrining right to die in British law, blocking second reading of Assisted Dying Bill by 212 majority in historic Commons vote
MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the legalisation of assisted dying in England and Wales after an impassioned four-and-a-half hour debate in which party lines were set aside.

Members voted by three to one against giving second reading to a bill tabled by the Labour backbencher Rob Marris, to allow terminally ill patients to be supplied with a lethal dose of drugs

It was the first ever serious attempt to change Britain’s assisted suicide laws through the House of Commons and saw calls for the issue to be put to a referendum amid polling suggesting public support running at around 80 per cent.

MPs on both sides lined up to give moving personal accounts of the loss of loved ones arguing both in favour and against.

But they were swayed by a series of warnings, including from fellow MPs qualified as doctors, that a change in the law would fundamentally alter the relationship between doctor and patient.

Read it all and read down for a helpful listing of arguments for and against.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Psychology, Suicide

(Local paper) Letter to the editor, The Sad cycle of veteran suicide

The suicide rate among today’s male military combat veterans is two and a half times that of any previous war and three times the rate of the male civilian population. That as many as 44 young veterans are killing themselves every day (more often than not by gunshot) is considered a crisis by those responsible for our veterans’ well-being.

Sixteen weeks of training, no matter how professional and intense, cannot prepare a young man for combat when he has been coddled all of his life by well-intentioned but ignorant parents ”” parents who honestly believe their children are in a constant state of jeopardy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Violent crime against children is down more than 20 percent since the 1950s.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Military / Armed Forces, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(NBC) In a Troubling Report, CDC finds more teens committing suicide by suffocation or strangling

It’s a troubling trend and it’s not clear what’s driving it, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

“The data don’t allow us to determine why,” said the CDC’s Thomas Simon, a suicide expert who helped lead the study. “Is it social media? Is it conventional media? Is it access to other methods?”

What CDC is very worried about is giving troubled a teens a “how-to” guide for how to commit suicide, but the agency also wants parents, teachers, friends and others to be aware of the risks. When media report on certain suicide methods, often officials see a rise in suicides afterwards, using the method described.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Suicide, Teens / Youth, Theology

([London] Times) Lethal self-harm–Why are teenage boys so prone to severe depression?

We can only imagine the agony of Edward Mallen’s parents, for whom “a normal Monday afternoon became a horrifying nightmare where one is staring into this appalling abyss of grief” when police knocked on their door last week to say that their 18-year-old son had been killed by a train. Intelligent, gifted, kind and humble, head boy twice over ”” by all accounts, Edward was a remarkable young man. Twelve A*s at GCSE, a place at Cambridge to read geography, grade eight at piano and popular.

Yet shortly after Christmas depression consumed him. His father said: “Often there is a trigger, some trauma, but there didn’t seem to be in this case. My son had a sickness ”” a biological sickness ”” that overtook him very rapidly. It happened over six to eight weeks.” The shocking fact is that this is not an isolated incident. Talking to experts and parents, I get a sense that self-harm, a destructive way of coping with emotional pain, has reached epidemic proportions.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ 2010 report on public mental health, half of those who suffer mental-health problems in adult life display difficulties by the age of 14. Three quarters of mental illness is present by the mid-twenties. While three times as many women as men attempt suicide, Office for National Statistics figures show that 78 per cent of suicides in 2013 were male (up from 63 per cent in 1981).

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Education, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, Stress, Suicide, Teens / Youth

(Chrn Today) Suicides can receive Anglican funerals, says General Synod

The Church of England is to change its laws to allow people who commit suicide, whatever the circumstances, to be buried or cremated according to its funeral rites.

Currently, Church of England clergy are not allowed to conduct the funeral of a person who takes their own life while deemed to be “of sound mind”.

Canon Michael Parsons of the Gloucester diocese told the General Synod meeting in Church House, Westminster: “This is widely disregarded by most clergy and even more widely unknown.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Suicide, Theology

(Law & Religion UK) CofE services after suicide not what headlines imply

In summary, the rationale behind the PMM is:

funeral services of suicides conducted by Church of England clergy may be in contravention of Canon B38; and
removing this canonical bar [on the use of “the rites of the Church of England” in these circumstances] “would send a very positive message to society at large, particularly if presented in the context that it was actually recognising current practice.”

Not quite the “legalization of suicide” or a “U-turn on funerals” of the headline; essentially an alignment of canon law with current custom and practice that will have little perceptible impact on the families of those involved. If clergy adherence to canon law were a major concern to the Church, infractions such as these are not necessarily the place at which one would start. As the Revd Gavin Foster has observed[1]:

“the requirements of Canon Law were perceived by clergy to be distant, ”˜other’, far away and irrelevant to the everyday life of the Church. [Anglican] clergy seemed to be only vaguely aware of the requirements of canon law and would frequently (and quite often knowingly) breach them.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Suicide, Theology