Skip to main content

A new study by the Williams Institute states that lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals were more likely to subsequently attempt suicide after seeking counseling from a religious or spiritual adviser than those who did not seek help at all. That doesn't necessarily mean it causes suicide, but the association is troubling, says a new study.

This study's timing is very interesting coming on the heels of my coming out diary and those of others on dkos.

From the Advocate:

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people who sought mental health counseling from a religious or spiritual adviser were more likely to subsequently attempt suicide than those who sought no treatment at all, says a new study from the Williams Institute.

The study, released by the think tank today, found that LGB people who received therapy from a medical or mental health professional were no less likely to attempt suicide than those who did not seek help, but assistance from faith-based counselors was associated with higher suicide risk.

“The findings are troubling because seeking treatment is a recommended suicide prevention strategy and this study results show no more positive effect for people who sought treatment,” said coauthor Ilan H. Meyer, Ph.D., a senior scholar of public policy at the institute, in a press release. “More troubling is the finding that individuals who sought religious or spiritual treatment had higher odds of later attempting suicide than those who did not seek treatment at all.”

“More studies are needed to assess the efficacy of treatment for LGB people with suicidal ideation in preventing future suicide attempts,” he continued. “But, even without further study, public health officials and health service providers ought to ensure that LGB individuals who seek mental health treatment, whether it is in medical or religious settings, receive competent mental health services that is relevant to their needs.”

You can find the study here.

Originally posted to librarisingnsf on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Rights are Human Rights.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Who would have thought telling someone (16+ / 0-)

    They are evil, demented, perverted, immoral, sick, disgusting animals would drive people to suicide?

  •  Not surprising... n/t (13+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:37:51 PM PDT

  •  No single factor causes suicide. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf

    Perhaps strong chemical imbalances in the brain but I can't say that for sure.

    http://www.thedreammapnovel.com

    by DAISHI on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:33:35 PM PDT

  •  it could be a quality of training issue (3+ / 0-)

    for the religious counselors rather than a guilt trip, hell fire and damnation cause.  I assume that if a person is seeking help they wouldn't open up to someone who was judgmental.  Although we hear a lot about the intolerant right wing, there are many religious sects that are much more accepting.  

    Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. Horace Mann (and btw, the bike in kayakbiker is a bicycle)

    by Kayakbiker on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:47:17 PM PDT

  •  seems reasonable since, in order to be "cured" (9+ / 0-)

    the person has to suppress all sorts of normal and customary sexual urges and having the urges themselves is considered sinful.

    The interesting thing about this particular sin is that it is one sin where the person is guaranteed to fail since it is necessary for him to suppress his natural desires; there is no action necessary.  Merely the urge is sufficient.

    Funny thing about this is, if you are winger fundamentalist, you are surrounded by the "saved" because many of them subscribe to the "faith alone" school of Salvation and also believe "once saved, always saved".  These neat lil ideas means everyone else is saved but if you are gay and feel Teh Gay, you can't have faith and that means you were not saved when you had your "come to jesus" moment.
    Sorry if this seems confused but I have had some local "saved" folks try to point out my theological errors and it remains confusing to me  

  •  Does it break down between those traditions whi... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, librarisingnsf

    Does it break down between those traditions which regard the LGBT as sinful and those which are intentionally welcoming such as the RIC or the More Light Presbys?

  •  I was an addictions counselor and spent (6+ / 0-)

    some years working in a state mental hospital. In my experience, using "religious" counselors for ANY mental, emotional or substance problem is very risky at best. I have NEVER met a person who has not ultimately been made worse by "religious" counseling, and most people I have known who have used it have stopped any other therapy they were using at the time, including medication or 12 step programs. ALL of these people relapsed into their abuse, and those who survived had a far more difficult time returning to the programs they were using before they tried the "religious" method...which usually is prayer, isolation and resisting ANY help from non "religious" sources,  since using them would imply a lack of faith...

    •  Well duh, it is quackery. I wonder how (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf

      results of those entrusting themselves completely to phrenologist, astrologers and old, old school witch-doctors would turn out?

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:22:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The military likes to employ these "counselors" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf, YsosadisticGOP

      for marriage counseling too. As in pay them. I had a friend who used such a counselor on a base, and she was not amused at all. But then she wouldn't be. She was a Pagan, who was thrust into a marriage counseling session with a bible beater. And let me tell you, that ended well (snark).

      These people should not be credentialed as if equal to a real therapist or mental health professional.

      One thing that really irks me about Christian "counselors" in particular, is that they wait until you are very low, and then they try and convert you. Talk about predatory practices. And if you say no then they don't want to "help" you any more. Oh and Jeebus won't help you either. Now I am not gay, but I can just imagine that also playing out with gay people and how devastating that is emotionally and psychologically, when someone is overwhelmed during a time of crisis.

      To me, this is unethical and needs to be stopped.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:11:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The study itself is paywalled, but apparently (0+ / 0-)

    it is based on a very small sample of LBGT people, some of whom have attempted suicide. The researchers found that seeking mental health treatment did not reduce the odds of a suicide attempt and seeking religious counselling correlated with higher incidence of suicide attempts.
       But, unless you assume that LGBT people are just naturally prone to suicide, the conclusions of the study seem to me to be unjustified.
       Why would anybody seek suicide counselling if they were not feeling suicidal?
       And why would anybody seek mental health counselling unless they were worried about their mental health?
       I suspect that this is yet another social science study that founders on the correlation/causation issue.

    •  Some Christian groups tend to claim (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      librarisingnsf

      that anything someone could want psychological therapy or counseling for is actually caused by 'unconfessed sin' (And not in the Catholic sense of confession).

      These are people who would consider throwing Leviticus at a child who is fidgeting in class and disruptive enough for an ADHD diagnosis to be not only appropriate but religiously required.

      They'd put a teenager who is completely straight except for That One Thought That One Time into conversion therapy in the name of treating ADHD or social anxiety or OCD rather than offer anything NEAR appropriate treatment.

      They'll send people who had no risk of suicide from the reason that they were seeking help into danger because they won't admit anyone can have a problem the prayer "God I'm sorry for every single itty bitty error I've ever made" won't immediately fix.

      And I know at least one speaker for Promise Keepers believed this very strongly, so who knows how many kids of all orientations had their dad go to a rally on Saturday and drag them to the pastor to start being grilled for the sinful source of their (being properly treated until then) problems the next morning.

  •  So what's your point and where is your (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf

    detailed statistical analysis?

    The quoted material indicates that the take-away from this study is

    Stop sending LGBT people to religious "counselors" for counseling -- there is no evidence it does any good and some evidence that it may do harm.

    Do you dispute that on some scientific grounds?

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:38:48 AM PDT

    •  Who are you directing these questions to? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      It's not my study, so I don't have ANY statistical analysis nor do I need any.

      No, I do not dispute the study? I'm reporting the study, so why would I dispute it?

      Did you mean to reply to the comment above yours?

    •  In the military, as a female when I sought "help" (3+ / 0-)

      from the Chaplain, he was a dick about it. He made it very clear that women didn't belong there, and that any pain I suffered was due to my own poor decision to join in the first place and put myself as a woman in a male dominated society.

      I cannot imagine being Gay and having to face that. Because I was on the edge at that point myself. If something had fallen on me in that moment and begun the process of dying I would have sighed in relief that the incredible emotional, psychic and mental anguish would be over soon. And then to have him judge me like that and and say terrible things and act like a petulant child and not like a trained professional, in the pay of the US govt?

      Maybe the sample needs to be bigger, but I can see this being a tip of an iceberg-type-topic that reaches far beyond just the Gay Community.

      I wish I could say I only had one Bad Experience with military chaplains but that would be a lie. I would be watching for this especially in the military given the chaplaincy and who sponsors them into the service. Just because the rules say gay people can be there, doesn't mean that the chaplains will be helpful or even sympathetic.

      I know the rules said females could be there, and I also learned quickly to expect a slap in the face if I went to them for help. So I can see it being this way quite easily.

      "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

      by GreenMother on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:17:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I seriously doubt that the sample needs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        librarisingnsf

        to be bigger, certainly not for those who were in it, I was challenging that assertion, for which no support was provided.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:53:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sending people to such "help" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          librarisingnsf

          would be unethical and unconscionable. Talking to those who did it on their own could lead to something considerably more worthwhile than this trivial study, if done by people who can recognize a good new question when it bashes them over the head.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:45:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It had to start Somewhere. (0+ / 0-)

            "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

            by GreenMother on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:10:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is the most apposite sig I can imagine (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother

              for this discussion. I had to read the Malleus Maleficarum/Das Hexenhammer/The Hammer of Witches in Buddhist seminary along with other accounts of misuse of church power and authority. Have you seen Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment, or the John Knox rant about Queen Elizabeth I that inspired Pratchett, The First Blast of the Horn Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women?

              The phrase "as I tell you for your own good" plays a critical role in an episode in the James Branch Cabell novel Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice, when Jurgen confronts a supernatural being pretending to be his wife who was carried off by a devil, poor fellow.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 07:37:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have not read the last three references in your (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Mokurai

                comment, but definitely plan to.

                "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

                by GreenMother on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 08:35:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Also the witch and witch hunter in (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  GreenMother

                  Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Along with the child Antichrist and his Doggy of Hell, and the Four Motorcyclists of the Apocalypse, among others.

                  Pratchett has written dozens of Discworld novels full of witches and wizzards [sic]. According to his lead witch, Granny Weatherwax, headology is more powerful and much safer than magic.

                  Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                  by Mokurai on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:16:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site