Last Friday’s news about our national suicide rate is alarming (“Grim report teases out factors behind rise in suicide rates,” Page A1), and I am deeply moved that so many people are living lives of quiet desperation. (As I am writing this, I see a pop-up news alert that Anthony Bourdain has died of suicide at age 61.)

The Washington Post article that you published states that “suicide is not only an issue for the mentally ill but for anyone struggling with serious lifestyle issues,” including “strained relationships (and) life stressors, often involving work or finances.”

Doesn’t that apply to most of us? What are we doing to counter all that stress? One of the best stress reducers is a caring, supportive community. Mayo Clinic research says that “your supportive family, friends and co-workers are an important part of your life (and) it’s never too soon to cultivate these important relationships.”

Sometimes, though, those relationships are not available. Sometimes they are even the source of the stress – but they aren’t the only sources of supportive community. There are also churches. Church is a natural source of community and meaning. It’s never too soon to revisit yours, or ask a friend, or try a new one.

Elizabeth Oatley