People who experience same-sex attraction or identify themselves as gay may be at higher risk for depression or suicide. People who are depressed or who may be contemplating suicide need to know they are loved and should be referred to a competent mental health professional. Additional resources addressing suicide can be found at preventingsuicide.lds.org.
Feelings of depression are real and can be overwhelming and debilitating. Often, professional counseling and medical care can help people deal with depression. When feelings of depression turn to suicidal thoughts, it is critical to have someone to talk to. People who are suicidal are in significant physical, mental, or emotional pain; are often isolated; and may feel they have no hope for the future. They may feel there is no other way to end the crippling pain except through taking their own life. Thoughts of death by suicide are often contemplated, considered, and reconsidered before any attempt is made. During this period of contemplation, intervention can save a life.
Preventing suicide starts with recognizing the warning signs. For a list of warning signs, please visit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
If it appears someone may be at risk, the best thing one can do is talk to them about it. It may seem awkward or presumptuous, but people who are depressed often desperately need someone to talk to, someone to help them process thoughts and feelings. These conversations may be difficult, but they are critical in reducing the feelings of isolation and hopelessness that can lead to suicide. If it appears that a person is at immediate risk of attempting suicide, call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland speaks compassionately of dealing with depression:
“Whatever your struggle, my brothers and sisters—mental or emotional or physical or otherwise—do not vote against the preciousness of life by ending it!
“Trust in God. Hold on in His love. Know that one day the dawn will break brightly and all shadows of mortality will flee. Though we may feel we are ‘like a broken vessel,’ as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter” (“Like a Broken Vessel,” Oct. 2013 general conference).