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The topic of suicide is certainly a sensitive one which is often avoided in conversations. There have been stigmas surrounding mental health issues in our society for years, which have often gotten in the way of us openly discussing the problem.
Suicide is an issue which so many of us have either been directly or indirectly impacted by. When a community loses a loved one to suicide, we are reminded of just how immense of an issue it is. As Catholics, we have an obligation to protect all lives, including our own, throughout each stage and in every condition.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that “Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him…We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.”
The Church’s teachings remind us that even though suicide may feel like one’s only option, our lives are a gift to us from God, and we are to care for them as we should all of God’s creations.
In order to fully embrace and recognize the dignity of every human, we need to remember that our lives are sacred. An individual at risk of taking his or her own life needs our love, and needs a healthy support system to lift him or her out of that place of despair.
While suicide is an issue which affects a wide range of people in the US, it is the third leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, as published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010. (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control) This is a startling statistic, but it can be changed with an increased effort to de-stigmatize mental illness and promote suicide prevention among young people.
By making ourselves aware of what we can do to help those that are suffering, we can be a part of the solution. We can no longer let suicide take away young people at such an alarming rate.
If you are in need of immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)