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
Ruby's views on the comparative suicide rate of JWs have been well-aired on this forum - and long may her disparate views be seen as part of a vigorous exchange that is open to review and comment.
On the topic of suicide being a more openly known topic in congregations, I have a very different view. Because of the level of shame and even stigma - often associated with suicidal behaviour and its completion, I know of instances where the family chose to tell others that the death was not intended and/or was accidental (although coroners' reports stated otherwise). I know this because 1) I work in the field of mental health, 2) have reviewed mental-health files of completed suicides and am privy to confidential correspondence that shows how prepared significant numbers of families are to "sanitize" the results for others in their respective communities. Therefore, when Ruby presents a seemingly clearcut take on it being hard to cover over suicide within a close religious community, I view her comments as markedly naïve - given what I know can occur in "the background".
Regarding the research that shows religious affiliation is a protective factor against suicidal behaviour, let's be clear:
1. That research did not focus on high-control religious groups;
2. That research did not control for suicide amongst troubled or conflicted religious individuals;
3. That research speaks in general terms about the shared sense of community experienced by churchgoers which acts as a buffer against the extremes of mental-health distress. It has little to say about the effects of exclusion from that buffer - THIS is the aspect many of us on this forum refer to. In other words, it is accepted that individuals who feel loved and supported are less likely to succumb to severe effects of mental-health distress. That said, we also know of individuals who, in order to remain under that protective buffer, have had to suppress their inner turmoil.
Anyone who works in the field of mental health knows that suicidal behaviour is no respecter of belief systems. I know from my work that troubled and conflicted individuals in religious groups often suffer in silence or are put into "the too hard basket."
If only Ruby's idyllic take on the research on religious affiliation and improved mental health could be applied "across the board".