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LDS Church expanding suicide-prevention website

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church is expanding its suicide prevention resources, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said Wednesday at the Utah State Capitol.

Elder Rasband spoke with reporters after a press conference that announced a new state task force on youth suicide prevention. He said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was beefing up its suicide prevention website.

A church spokesman said the website had been updated with new resources for those who need help with thoughts about suicide or who have made an attempt; those who are worried about someone they know; and those who have lost someone by suicide.

The site also has updated resources for local church leaders helping those in each situation as well as hotline information for people around the world.

The church itself does not provide suicide prevention training, but the website includes multiple resources about how to talk to those in need as well as links to other organizations that do.

Elder Rasband said youth suicide has reached a "crisis point."

"We want to do everything we possibly can," he said.

"We have many parishes and churches, bishops, wonderful sisters that are all working on it, let alone moms and dads," he said, "and we want to just call all of these resources together to try and improve this horrific statistic that influences many of us in our families and extended families."

Elder Rasband will sit on the new task force and said the church welcomed the coalition because it has seen good results when it works with partners and coalitions.

"There is more power in a chorus than in a single voice," he said.

The church previously updated in September for National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Elder Rasband said the site is "frequented often."

That same month, official church magazines published three articles about suicide survivors — being a friend to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, a personal account of a suicide survivor and an article on how survivors heal.

The magazines also included suicide prevention resources, including a suicide prevention lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and a crisis textline (text START to 741-741).

A year earlier, the magazines published stories on overcoming suicidal thoughts and how to create a suicide-prevention safety plan, followed by a story on understanding suicide warning signs and prevention.