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Suicide: Facts, religious
aspects, ethical considerations...

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If you feel suicidal right now, please consider doing one of the following:

bullet You can look for the number of a distress center, suicide hot line, or crisis center within the first few pages of your telephone book. This might be the best option, because a group in your area may be able to suggest better local referrals for you

bullet If you are located in the U.S. or Canada, you can phone The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: ™

TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY┬ ┬ (4889)

They are open 24 hours a day

They also have a chat line at 1-800-273-8225 for those who are deaf or hard of
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bullet You can find a list of crisis centers anywhere in the world at:

bullet Another list, mostly for the U.S. is at:

bullet A list, of distress and crisis lines in Canada is available at:
bullet You can find a list of crisis centers anywhere in the world at:, or

bullet You can go to the web site for some suggestions.

You don't need to be suididal to call most or any of these lines. They generally receive many more calls from people who need referrals, or are distressed, or in need of information, than calls from persons who are suicidal.

The U.S. federal National Suicide Hotline Designation Act is now law. By 2022-JUL, a three digit telephone number (988) will be useable everywhere in the U.S. When the act is implemented, dialing that number will connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

A brief overview:

Why people committ suicide continues to be a largely unanswered question. Most people believe that suicides are associated with a long-lasting depression; they are often "a permanent solution to a temporary problem." But, data shows that:

"... about 2% "of severely depressed people eventually die by suicide, which is only slightly higher than the 1.6% of people from the general United States population who eventually die by suicide."

In North America, they seem to peak annually in the early springtime. One theory is that individuals decide to commit suicide while profoundly depressed in the dead of Winter, but lack the ability to organize their own death. Later, when the weather improves and they feel more in control and are able to arrange their suicide.

Others who commit suicide are not depressed. They kill themselves because of terminal illness, intractable pain, and/or the loss of dignity, control, and autonomy -- or anticipated loss -- which often accompanies terminal diseases.┬

Emergency support services are available to help persons with suicidal ideation, often on a 24 hour basis. Suicide prevention hot lines (sometimes called distress centers, crisis centers, hotlines, Contact, Telecare, etc.) offer non-judgmental, confidential, caring support by trained volunteers. Telephone numbers are often listed on the inside front cover of local telephone books.

Throughout North America, the act of committing suicide is no longer a crime. However, actively assisting a person to commit suicide remains a criminal act. 2

Certain groups within the population are much more at risk for suicide. These include Aboriginals, persons who suffer from various mental disorders, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals   Persons who are transgender appear to be at the highest risk to commit suicide. About 40% attempt suicide some time during their life because of the gender that they feel they are conflicting with their biological sex assigned at birth.

Topics covered in this section:


Facts about suicide


The World Suicide Prevention Day


Worldwide efforts to prevent suicide


Incidences of suicide within different groups:


Members of religious groups


Gay and lesbian youth


The Innu in Canada


Other Canadian First Nations: Part 1  Part 2


Persons with mental illness


2018-DEC: Conflict during a Catholic funeral of a teen who had committed suicide


Suicide and the Bible


Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church about Suicide


Sources of information on suicide methods on the Internet


Criminalizing and censoring information sources on suicide


star Physician assisted suicide (PAS); a.k.a. Medical Aid in Dying -- (MAID) < A large section.

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The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Why predicting suicide is a difficult and complex┬ challenge," The Conversation, 2018-JUN-09, at:
  2. "Is Assisting With Suicide a Crime?," Find Law, 2019, at:

Site navigation: Home page > "Hot" topics┬ > here

Copyright ┬ę 2000 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-FEB-6
Latest update: 2019-JAN-19
Author: B.A. Robinson
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