Is God the Answer to the Suicide Epidemic?

The rate at which Americans take their own lives has been climbing for 20 years, prompting policy makers and medical experts to search for novel suicide-prevention practices. But one approach is as old as civilization itself: religious faith. Encouraging the most vulnerable Americans to attend religious services could reduce the suicide rate, and a new type of church growing in the U.S. shows particular promise.

A 2016 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that American women who attended a religious service at least once a week were five times less likely to commit suicide. The findings—based on data from 90,000 women from 1996 to 2010—are consistent with 2019 Pew Research findings that regular participation in religious community is clearly linked to higher levels of happiness. It's true that correlation doesn't prove causation, but there's strong evidence that people who attend church or synagogue regularly are less inclined to take their own lives.

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