Introduction

We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire. — George Sand, 19th century French novelist

This workshop focuses on two related topics, both emotionally charged, but in different ways. Suicide and suicide prevention is one topic. The right of terminally ill people to die in the manner and time of their own choosing is the other. Through videos, print resources, journaling, paired sharing, and large group discussion, participants explore their own experiences and feelings and share them with others as they are comfortable. Together participants connect the issues to their Unitarian Universalist faith, asking:

  • What can our congregation do to help with suicide prevention?
  • Does my Unitarian Universalist faith call me to support the right of self-determination in dying?

Send a reminder to participants two or three days ahead of the workshop and include information about preparation from Workshop 5, Handout 1, Looking Ahead to Workshop 6.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Explore suicide myths, facts, perceptions, and assumptions
  • Offer information about resources and strategies to help prevent suicide
  • Provide a process for examining the ethical questions concerning the right to die with dignity
  • Raise awareness of the 1988 UUA Resolution The Right to Die with Dignity and invite discussion of its validity today.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Explore myths and facts about suicide
  • Discuss some perceptions, judgments, and assumptions commonly made about suicide
  • Learn about some resources and strategies to help prevent suicide or cope with grief after a loved one has committed suicide
  • Consider ways in which their congregation can help prevent suicide
  • Explore “the right to die with dignity” suicide by persons with a debilitating terminal illness
  • Consider their own feelings and experiences regarding assisted suicide
  • Reflect on the 1988 UUA Resolution The Right to Die with Dignity.