Suicide has long-lasting, far-flung effects on others, speakers say
Published: October 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Suicide has long-lasting and traumatic effects that go far beyond the person who dies, as an Oct. 20 Web-based discussion among a priest, a bereavement counselor and a psychiatrist showed. Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, president of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, said the "soul-scarring experience" of the suicide of a 22-year-old neighbor when he was 14 is "the reason I am a priest today." Claire Woodruff, religious education coordinator in the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., and the facilitator of a Suicide Bereavement Support group, spoke about the suicide 14 years ago of her husband of nearly 23 years, Ken, whose "battle with clinical depression was short but very, very intense." Dr. Thomas Welch, a Portland psychiatrist who moderated the discussion, said teens, young adults and elderly white men are most likely to die by suicide, although "the demographics are changing" and the suicide rate is increasing among middle-aged women. The three were participating in a Webinar on suicide prevention and pastoral supports, sponsored by the National Catholic Partnership on Disability's Council on Mental Illness and other groups. They were joined in the interactive session by people at more than 100 sites around the country.
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