All Souls Day, and the Fifteenth International Survivors of Suicide Day scheduled in Buffalo for Nov. 23, are reminders of a recent letter that appeared in a newsletter of the Association of Marian Helpers. The author lives in Buffalo and regularly prays for holy souls.
She wrote of the intense grief and worries that she and her husband suffered after their son's death by suicide. Additionally they worried greatly about his soul and found consolation hard to come by.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church notes some of the many circumstances that diminish the responsibility of one who commits suicide. Tragically 90 percent of those who die in suicide have psychiatric disorders and two-thirds of those have a depressive disorder.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide is on the rise in the country and around the world. It is now one of the three leading causes of death in people ages 15-54. Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, speaker and author, said that "when someone dies to suicide it is because they are too bruised to be touched. Suicide is misunderstood and leaves survivors and those who want to comfort them feeling helpless and seeking direction."
Help is available. Information on these topics will be given at a free conference sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention which includes a broadcast presentation followed by a panel discussion of those who lost family members.
A bereavement counselor and other health clinicians will be present. The conference is open to the public and a light lunch will be served.
Those who have lost someone to suicide or know someone who has, may call 716-816-2011 to register and receive further information.