Special to the Intermountain Catholic
In an effort to fulfill Bishop Oscar A. Solis’s vision for the Diocese of Salt Lake City in his Pastoral Plan released last September, St. Martin de Porres Parish is implementing a series of informational presentations/movies to help promote a better understanding of our Catholic faith, to help create an atmosphere of bonding in community, friendships and faith.
This effort began March 3 with a presentation on suicide prevention. It was hosted by Cabrini Riddle and Benee Larsen, a presentation specialist from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Larsen presented some disturbing statistics, among them that in Utah the highest cause of death among teens is suicide; and when it comes to suicide, Utah ranks fifth overall in the nation.
Guns are used in a large percentage of suicides and Utah has a high gun ownership statistic, so locking up guns in the household would limit access to teens, she said.
There are a myriad of reasons why a person may decide to commit suicide, but statistics show that if someone can spot the signs and provide adequate intervention, the circumstances driving a person to consider suicide can change in as quickly as 48 hours, she said. The important thing is to listen, impartially, and provide appropriate mentoring. There is nothing wrong with coming right out and asking a person if they are feeling suicidal. The beginnings of an honest conversation can bring hope to anyone considering suicide, she said.
NAMI states that “one in five people experiences a mental health condition in a given year.” This doesn’t mean that one out of five people are “crazy,” just that one of five people experience problems that cause angst, extreme worry, stress and fear, she said. Lack of religiosity can be a factor in suicide.
There are 10 common warning signs of a mental health condition that can lead to suicide. These include personality changes, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, inability to concentrate, panic attacks, excessive use of alcohol or drugs, risk taking, feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks.
For information about suicide prevention, contact NAMI at 801-323-9900.
Another intervention tool is an app called SafeUT. It has free access to licensed professionals in crisis intervention, 24 hours a day from University of Utah clinics and hospitals. It provides support for bullying, depression, relationship difficulty, drug and alcohol problems, grief, anxiety and much more, all available and anonymous.
St. Martin de Porres Parish will continue to fulfill the directives in the Pastoral Plan of the Diocese of Salt Lake City by providing informational presentations on the last of Sunday of each month beginning March 31 at 12:15 p.m.
The March 31 presentation will be a video by Patrick Madrid, “Where is That in the Bible?” It is free to anyone who wishes to attend. For information, contact Caroline Costello, the parish’s director of religious education, at 801-209-8945.
Caroline Costello is the director of religious education, at St. Martin de Porres Parish.
Editor’s note: The diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry will offer a suicide prevention workshop in Spanish on Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m. at the Pastoral Center, 27 C. St., Salt Lake City.