Friday, October 23, 2009


So, I have a problem. My problem is that I don't really follow the speculative line of reasoning that blames the LDS church for the suicides on the "list." While it is certainly true that some individuals on the list left notes or otherwise indicated their "relationship" with the church was part of the reason they committed suicide, doesn't this whole issue really require a little more introspection and honesty?

For example, let's get real and acknowledge the extraordinarily high incidence of the use of guns in suicides. The list doesn't provide enough information to determine how each individual took their lives, but I suspect it would not shake out too differently from the national statistics showing that guns are the primary way men commit suicide. Secondly, let's consider the very sad problem of men, society and clinicians not properly diagnosing and treating depression appropriately. When we have 40 names on the list spanning a 50 year time frame and they are nearly all male, shouldn't that be a part of the discussion as well? Is grief and loss a factor? Sure it is just like in the rest of the population. What about co-morbidities, the list offers little information about drug, alcohol and non-depression psychiatric disorders?

The one co-morbidity that does make a little sense in the course of the conversation is post-traumatic stress disorder. People with PTSD from any source are at a much higher risk of depression and suicide. So if one could actually link diagnosable PTSD with clear incidents or patterns of discrimination you might be able to make this claim, but if we are going to list folks whose PTSD may have to do with other stressful events (I don't consider getting picked up for cruising in public places to be discrimination), let's not find causation where it doesn't exist.

For more information on suicide please see this fact sheet.

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