Regular Church Attendance Linked to Lowered Risk of Suicide

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In a study that was published in August of last year, a link between a person regularly attending church and having a lower risk for suicide was found. This trend goes against the grain of the sad reality of an increasing rate of suicide in the United States of America across men and women of all backgrounds.

The study is titledĀ Association Between Religious Service Attendance and Lower Suicide Rates Among US Women and was published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in August of 2016. The study looked at the rates of suicide for almost 100,000 women over the years 1996 to 2010. The group was made up of made of nurses and women who predominantly identified as Catholic or Protestant. They found that out of the women studied, those who attended Mass at least once per week were five times less likely to commit suicide against the national average. Of those who identified as Catholic, the rate was observed to be half for women in the United States as a whole.

Of the 6999 women who identified as Catholic and attended Mass at least once per week, none committed suicide over the fifteen year period. However, those that identified as Catholic but did not regularly attend Mass had almost an identical rate. The study suggests a causal link between regularly attending mass and having a reduced risk for suicide. The team of researchers at Harvard said:

“Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that psychiatrists and clinicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate”

As Catholics, we know that one taking their own life is a grave sin (though culpability is mitigated by mental disorders). The authors accounted for the fact that the next of kin of any Catholic who did tragically take their own life would most likely not report it by saying that it would have to occur on an unrealistic and mass scale to account for the stark decreased rate found by the study.

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