Let’s talk about a painful subject now. If you do not want to know what I think about this subject, stop now, and go play a video game, or have a donut.
My knowledge of suicides in the world comes from reading the major papers, like The New York times. The emotional feelings come from being the Mother of an adult suicide.
I can speak from experience, and all my thoughts and feeling about this have been mulled over since 1995.
When my 28 year old son jumped off a very high bridge, I knew it was what he was headed for after he was rejected by a supposedly good friend. He put a high value on his religion, and although we do not know if he had other reasons to take his life, the rejection of a person that he loved, or thought he did was the main factor.
I worked through my grief by writing a small booklet that I called The Road to the Bridge.
A copy of it is with the urn in my closet with some of his ashes.
When people claim that “God has called him home” I counter that with telling them that he thought his God hated him, and thought he was a base sinner.
I suspect that he had an un -diagnosed bi-polar condition, but his history of seeking out churches and leaving them points to another reason. He was looking for love, plain and simple.
His family was broken up when he was 8, he was shy, and his Dad never knew how to parent properly. He had no girlfriends in high school. He took 7 years to finish a four year college career, and had only entry level jobs in technology before he went off the rails, and got his pink slip.
He did away with himself because he found no solace in religion, and had no social structure to give him purpose. He wanted the pain to end, so caused the rest of the family pain for the rest of their lives.
Recently I have noticed more coverage of this subject, and come to the story of the increased suicide rate in Greenland. After a major change in economics where the fishing villages were emptied out by the introduction of large scale industrial fishing companies, the rate of young men killing themselves increased radically. There was a destruction of community life, dispersion of family members and nothing left for those who used to fish for a living.
The loss of a living also is noted as a cause of suicide in the Midwest America, as the jobs are outsourced and middle aged men are made redundant.
We come to the matter in the United States when we see the comparison statistics of our different states. The top twenty are listed with Alaska being the top in number of suicides with 21.8 deaths per thousand. Utah is 13th down the list, with multiple factors in the mix.
Some researchers claim that there is a Suicide Corridor in the Mountain States of Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and Montana. There is some evidence that the altitude affects the brain in some way to cause people to think differently.
I have my doubts about this.
We have the added factor of rejection of the youth by super religious families on account of the teens coming out as gay or lesbian. For whatever reasons, the state of Utah has the highest incidence of youth suicide; even higher than the national average.
Institutionalized homophobia, drug use and depression increases the rates of youth suicide significantly after new laws are passed against gays.
Bullying of the LGBT youth is a contributing factor in many suicides.
The lack of acceptance of the LGBT community, few health resources for dealing with depression and availability of guns has made Utah‘s suicide rate increase by 10% over the last 15 years.
Before we can look for a solution, we have to understand the causes of this increase.
Comparing these three different population groups I notice one unifying factor, and that is the lack of love.
This lack can sneak up and contribute to the pain of rejection, bullying, loss of self-confidence, and no church does anything to combat these feelings.
When the church comes out and encourages the rejection of a child because of a physical condition, there is really no hope.