why jw's commit suicide?
I think, as someone who had clinical depression in that religion in my twenties, that the teachings makes you feel everything is pointless.
Hobbies are pointless - you should be doing more on FS instead. Travel is pointless, 'we can do that in the new system'. Learning a musical instrument is pointless, 'we can do that in .........
Going to the gym, 'physical exercise is beneficial for a little but Godly devotion' yadda, yadda.
Volunteering or giving to charity - 'you have the poor always with you' and big J will sort out poverty and suffering - any day now!
Reading for pleasure or self education is pointless, 'to the making of many books there is no end and much devotion to them is wearisome to the soul'.
It's nearly thirty years since I read the Bible or a WTS book but this nonsense remains in my memory. This cult destroys our joy in life. They rubbish everything that gives any pleasure to human existence. I had the phrase 'what's the point?' in my head for many years notalone. Can you wonder that people take their own lives?
the suicide rate isn't higher among JWs than general populations. in fact it is lower. In general suicide rates are lower among people in religions because religions tend to deal with issues of life and death in very direct ways. I'm not arguing for religion but that secular cultures need to address the issue of suicide more directly. this is what WHO says about it. This site also provides an interactive map regarding suicide rates worldwide. Even anecdotal evidence would put Jehovah's witnesses among no more than the more religious areas where suicide rates are generally lower.
Despite recent efforts to openly talk about mental health in society, it still often remains a taboo. This fear of stigma, paired with the lack of support many people experience, may prevent them from accessing the proper treatment they may need to live healthy, full, and productive lives.
What's the evidence for saying the suicide rate is lower among JWs?
I don't think there is reliable data on the issue. In fact the WT discourages and obstructs collecting such data, which is perhaps indicative.
There is plenty of evidence as suicide is not something you can hide in congregations. JWfacts claims he has anecdotal evidence. If we put his anecdotal evidence together what figures does it provide for Australia?
secondly take a look at the interactive map and you will see that where religion predominates the suicide rates are lower - Spain, Italy. In fact most of the Southern med. On average most Muslim countries too.
edit: there is scholarly data too but I am avoiding bringing such to the table as it may be difficult for you to access. Please also note I am not arguing for religion as such but for the issue of suicide to be addressed more openly and in a less stigmatised way.
Lets face it, when we were in the cult we were told we wernt good enough, not worthy of God the way we are, unacceptable, unclean, "dust"... and that's when we're doing all we can in the cult! So i think those who still feel it is the truth may think that if they leave they're even worse than useless. Which simply isnt true.
Couple this with the shunning and you have a very dangerous situation.
Im not bothered about being shunned, but if my daughter were to die i know i'd want to kill myself. Watchtower takes away everything that should be sacred to you, your self worth, your opinions and even your family. Once you're stripped off all those things you're an empty shell. Which is why it's very important to speak to others, especially ex-JWs and/or a mental health professional.
pale emperor I agree. the cognitive dissonance when a person changes lifestyles is huge and suicide rates do go up. this is time to seek help and to try and get the right medication, to get a different view of life and death and to obtain different ways of gaining self esteem and personal worth.
And...it's not like you are ever going to get any help even if you are still IN and have suicidal thoughts. When I went through a particularly bad bout of depression - a result of having cancer - I was writing goodbye letters to my kids. On a very rare occasion I was actually asked by an elder how I was feeling, I expressed that I was really troubled with suicidal thoughts and had written goodbye letters to my kids. He said and I quote 'Oh, sorry to hear about that' and walked off and never spoke to me again.
If a sister came to me like that, I would immediately have jumped into action to help her. But then that's me...a lowly sister.
There was a 2015 study of the mental health of Jehovah's Witnesses which considered the rate of mental illness and severe depression among a group of 15,675 Witnesses from 15 different countries, which I referred to in another thread.
The results are that the rate of mental illness (psychosis, including schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder) among JW is a little more than one third of the rate in the population as a whole, and the rate of severe depression is about one fifth of the rate in the population.
The study also considered the rate of suicide in Norway over a 20-year period and found it to to be a little over a third of the rate in the population as a whole.
There was a lovely lady in my last congregation that suffered from depression. She was about 25 years older than me. She always put a smiley face on and was really quiet and unassuming. Because she wasn't in any of the social cliques she was left on her own all the time. I always made a big effort with her, talking to her and remembering our conversations so i could refer to things she'd said previously to show i was listening.
It was so sad to see nobody bothering with her, even though they knew she was suffering. I wonder how she is now that im DFd and no one else ever bothered. I do think if she stopped going and made real friends in the real world she'd feel at least a little better.
Earnest that agrees with my own research. The good thing is that secular nations are trying to address issues regarding mental illness. I think that recognizing the need for interdependence rather than extreme independence is a key factor.