CV NEWS FEED // Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa is offering a Suicide Support Group in the local city of Carroll for those who have lost a friend or family member to suicide, “emphasizing the importance of finding hope and support amid the challenges of grief and loss.”
“Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Sioux City offers services to people of all faiths and backgrounds, and participants do not need to be members of a local parish to participate,” local news station 1380 KCIM reported on January 23:
The group is open to individuals aged 18 and older who have lost a family member or friend to suicide more than 30 days ago. Tina Zanders, LMSW, will lead the sessions, emphasizing the importance of finding hope and support amid the challenges of grief and loss.
Beginning in February there will be six total meetings for the support group, and interested persons can register free of charge.
Zanders stated on the Catholic Charities website, “I will provide a caring, comfortable and confidential setting in which you can listen, share and connect with others to build an on-going support system.”
Catholic Charities in the Sioux City diocese offers many professional resources for mental health support. Also starting in February, the Sioux City diocese Catholic Charities is also offering a suicide support group for those at the neighboring Fort Dodge location, free of charge.
The Fort Dodge group supervisor Darla McEnroe stated, “More people than ever have lost someone close to them by suicide. Through this group, we will provide hope and support for moving forward in your journey through grief and loss.”
In the fall of 2023, Catholic Charities offered a suicide support group in the immediate Sioux City location. One participant in the support group said of the support group, “You learn so much being part of a group. It was more helpful than I ever thought it would be.”
Other dioceses in the United States are offering support, whether spiritual or mental, for those grieving a loss from suicide. The Diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana sponsored a “Rosary for Healing and Hope After a Loss from Suicide” in November.
One of the rosary event’s organizer’s Dina Dow told CatholicVote, “People seem more open to talking about their experiences of a loss by suicide, and so we felt called to gather in prayer for healing and hope.”
According to a study cited in a 2022 Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) report, individuals who know someone who died by suicide “are twice as likely as those who have not been exposed to suicide to have diagnosable depression, almost twice as likely to have diagnosable anxiety, and more likely to report suicide ideation (9% vs. 5%).”
“This study also found that those closest to the descendant are at increased risk of depression and anxiety, and more likely to develop posttraumatic stress disorder,” IDPH reported:
As the National Alliance on Mental Illness describes, “A suicide is like a pebble in a pond. The waves ripple outward.” In other words, one death by suicide affects the whole community.
The IDPH reported, “Based on the NSDUH estimates for the combined years of 2019 and 2020, 131,165 adults in Iowa (aged 18 years and older) experienced serious thoughts of suicide, 40,227 adults in Iowa made a suicide plan, and 13,165 adults in Iowa attempted suicide in the last 12 months in 2020.”
According to the IDPH, “Iowa ranked as the 21st highest suicide rate among all U.S. states in 2019. In 2020, suicide was the eighth leading cause of death among all ages and the second leading cause of death among those aged 15-34 in Iowa.”
Catholic Charities and the IDPH recommend the 24-hour available crisis counseling phone resource Your Life Iowa for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide.