Ten Simple Things We Can Do Immediately to Reduce Suicide: A Zero-Cost Public Mental Health Proposal

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D.

Despite all the valiant efforts to reduce suicide rates in the U.S., a study by the National Center for Health Statistics released in April of 2016 reported that suicide in the United States had surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, with an increase in every age group except older adults. The rise was especially pronounced in middle-aged women (up 63%) and middle-aged men (up 43%), with the overall suicide rate rising by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014.

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A Response to Jana Riess’s “The Next Mormons”: The Importance of Disentangling Data and Argument

 Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Note:  A special thanks to Jana Riess for her willingness to correspond and share thoughtful responses to a number of questions during an especially busy time for her. Given the seriousness of claims made in her lengthy book, an adequate review and response also requires sufficient space (trigger warning to long-read-haters!)  … Continue reading

Can People Repent of Racism?

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. [Originally published on the Millenial Star] If someone does or says something legitimately racist, can they change, move past it – and regain societal grace? After Governor Ralph Northam was accused earlier this year of wearing blackface in a college yearbook photo, calls for his resignation were almost immediate – including… Continue reading

Why Have Suicides Increased (Even More) After Enormous Efforts to Reduce Them?

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. [First published on the EternalCore Mental Health Conference website] Like so many, I’ve lost loved ones to suicide. The most obvious question that always comes up is why? What was it that led this individual…to that tragedy? Although there will always be some uncertainty involved in this heartbreak, thousands of studies documenting various… Continue reading

The Dystopian Novel(s) We Are Now Living

Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Once upon a time, religious conservatives in America found themselves increasingly disliked within a society more and more rejecting of their core convictions about life, sexuality and family. By the time 2016 rolled around, these orthodox religious folks were definitely not the cool cats, anymore: “Sexist!” “Racist!” “Heterosexist” “Is that even a… Continue reading

A Gathering of All Goodness: Some Optimism in this Somber Political Moment

Originally published on the Bridge Alliance blog, as “Glimpsing a Silver-Lining in this Otherwise Gloomy American Moment“ Jacob Z. Hess, Ph.D. Amidst the tumult of this perilous moment in the United States, could something surprisingly beautiful arise? Could this be the moment when good-hearted people across the political spectrum are forced to decisively come together – in… Continue reading

The Problem with Love Loud

Originally published on the Millenial Star blog, under the title “Lies Don’t Feel Loving: A Response to LoveLoud“ Jacob Hess, Ph.D. Standing in the middle of 30,000 people, it’s hard – even impossible – to imagine that something could be wrong with what’s happening.  It’s even more difficult to imagine that such passionate work may,… Continue reading

Two Different Stories Being Told About Religious Folks Supporting President Trump (And Why It Matters Which Story We Tell)

If you’re breathing and living on Planet Earth, you know by now that Donald Trump has attracted the support of many Americans – including a surprising number of religious Americans.

But why?  Isn’t he living contrary (like, remarkably so) to much of what religious folks believe? If so, how could they possibly go along with his antics, let alone keep supporting him?  One evangelical writer, Warren Throckmorton, called this the “big puzzle” – namely, “Why would these moral crusaders fall behind a womanizer who bragged about sexual assault?”

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Another Hypothesized Contributor to Youth Suicide That We’re (Mostly) Not Talking About. Can We Start Now?

Prefatory Notes: Losing one life (of any age) to suicide is one too much. We all know that. And so, we’re doing ALL we can to stop it – in Utah and across the nation. In addition to all the new programs, grants and funding, I wonder: Are we willing to have difficult conversations (we’re not currently having enough) that might make a significant difference in reducing these numbers?

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Does Taking a Progressive View of Identity Make It Difficult to Be (Happily) Mormon?

During graduate school, two new classmates arrived in the program and announced, “He, we’re looking for a church to attend – anyone have ideas?”

At the time, I was the President of the Latter-day Saint Student Association at the University of Illinois, and so I naturally let them know about the LDS branch that met each Sunday. In that moment, I expected they would actually consider the invitation (among other options they had)…and who knows, maybe even come and try our our little congregation sometime?

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