Suicide, Mental Illness and the Catholic Church


With the very recent death of the amazingly gifted Robin Williams I felt it’s a good time to write about suicide and mental illness. I never knew that he suffered from mental illness. Then again usually we don’t hear about people’s mental illnesses. I was shocked like many to learn that his death was due to suicide.


Growing up in the Catholic Church I felt like I was being taught to fear God and I really began questioning whether or not I wanted to be a Catholic. Through my journey I have come to find answers I have been looking for and I truly believe God has been leading me to my answers. I hope my insight may help some of you.


Last year a dear friend reached out to me to find some answers and I felt so very honored that she thought I could help her. A girl she had known for years had recently died of suicide and she was heartbroken at the idea of her friend being sent to hell. You see we were taught that suicide was a mortal sin and if you were to commit a mortal sin you went to hell. However, this young lady had been mentally ill and had spent a good amount of her life being abused and treated very poorly. If that was the case then how could she have committed a mortal sin?? AND how could an all loving God send someone broken to hell? I don’t think it would happen cause if it did then he wouldn’t be all loving. She was taken to God’s home where she would be healed and find the peace she so deserve. I also have never had the honor to meet our wonderful new Pope, Pope Francis but I believe if you were to ask him if he agrees with my statements he just might agree.

If you have ever suffered from any kind of mental illness you know that ‘your wires’ in your head are not connected properly and you tell yourself things that aren’t true but you believe them to be true. Well the God I believe in and I know the Catholic Church believes in is all loving and our creator. If he created each of us, he knows what each of us goes through both good and bad. He knows if we are of sound mind when we choose to do something against him or if we are suffering and we don’t realize the affects of the choice we are making. He knows when we are sorry for the things we have done.


However, through it all when someone believes the only answer is suicide and ends up taking their life and you are left to wonder if that person will get into heaven, pray for them. I truly believe in the miracle of prayer. I have found a few prayers that I say for them…

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you. Save the souls of the unborn children, all souls in purgatory (I believe in purgatory and I will explain why in a future post), all priests and religious and all marriages and families.

Another one I say is; Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Here is another one I found. I have not prayed it before but there is always a first for everything. Almighty God, Our Heavenly Father, we understand that Thy sixth commandment, “Thou shalt do no murder,” includes self murder. But in Thy divine mercy, we beg Thy forgiveness especially for (name), who have been so confounded by the pressures of this life that they felt there was no way they could continue. Grant, we beseech Thee, that they be forgiven their terrible sin and accepted into Thy divine providence, and that they may come to understand Thy ways and Thy nature. We ask this in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.

copyright 2014 Sheila M Scarpulla . All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent


I am a mother of three children who is trying to fulfill all the ‘traditional’ ideas of a stay at home mom. I am a cook, maid, shopper, chauffeur and the laundry lady. I am also their protector, mentor, religious educator and guidance counselor. I have chosen to raise them in a Catholic household.

Leave a Reply