Spirituality, religion, and suicidality among veterans: A qualitative study.
Lusk, J., Dobscha, S.K., Kopacz, M., Ritchie, M.F., & Ono, S.
This qualitative study explores the relationship between veterans’ spirituality/religion and suicide ideation and attempts. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with 30 veterans who either endorsed chronic suicidal ideation or had made suicide attempt(s). Interviews explored the bi-directional relationship between spirituality/religion (e.g., beliefs, practices, and experiences), and suicide ideation and behaviors. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Veterans’ responses indicate that spirituality/religion can discourage or permit suicidal ideation, help in coping with ideation, and facilitate meaning making and coping in the presence of self-perceived suffering. Veterans who survived a suicide attempt explored the impact of their spirituality/religion on their recovery. Findings highlight a complex and diverse relationship between spirituality/religion and suicidality. These findings may inform further research on treatment strategies that assess the function of spirituality/religion, and incorporate protective aspects of spirituality/religion into mental health treatment.