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Church considers suicide intervention


Archbishop Robert Rivas OP has expressed concern about suicides in the archdiocese and would see in what way the Church can make a bigger contribution in helping people to veer away from taking their own lives.

“Life is so precious—all human life,” he said. “I wouldn’t like to think that as a society we would think in any other way about people who find themselves in this situation, except in a compassionate way and wanting what is best for them, so that they can live the gift they have received— life from God,” the Archbishop of Castries told St Lucia Times.

The local news website reported a suspected suicide of a seventeen-year-old who was found hanging from the ceiling of his bedroom in March. A prior case involved a middle-aged father of four who was found hanging from a tree at his residence, February 11.

Archbishop Rivas expressed the view that very often, people reach “the edge of the cliff” and do not see any other way out than to take their own life. He told St Lucia Times if those persons had someone nearby to give them some time, listen to them, counsel and care for them and reach out to them, they might think differently.

The Archbishop recalled that when he was the Bishop in St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Catholic Church launched an organisation called The Samaritans in response to a spate of suicides.

According to him, the priest who headed the group gave 14 years of his life providing counselling and other services to the people of that diocese.

Archbishop Rivas said he was not sure what the mechanisms are in St Lucia, but he intends to find out.

“I know there are services provided, but I would like to know exactly who provides the services, where are the services and how accessible and easy it is to get the help,” the Archbishop said.

Archbishop Robert Rivas: “Life is so precious—all human life.”