Orthodox Christians weigh in on the matter of whether or not being mentally ill makes one less responsible for sins. The sin of suicide enters the picture from the start of the discussion:
When I was a Protestant, I had a friend who was a roommate during my one year in Seminary, who spent a year or two with Operation Mobilization (a Protestant missionary organization), but wearied of trying to raise support (he had bounced around to various Protestant churches, and had no stable, solid base of support). At which point he decided to campaign to be president of the United States. My friend spent some time campaigning and preaching at the Washington Monument toward this goal.
He also would sink, at various times during his life, into a deep depression. He was admitted to psychiatric hospitals a number of times. I do not know if he had a diagnosis, but he seemed like he might have been bipolar to me. (I have other friends with this diagnosis, and know a little about it.)
When all his grand visions of missionary work and political office came to naught, he went home to help his parents. The loss of these visions proved too hard on him, and he again was hospitalized. The last time I talked to him, on the phone, he had basically given up on life.
I wrote him some letters after this and had not heard back. So one day I called his parent’s house and his mother said that he had died. He had taken his own life. His name was Ed Washburn.
And so this discussion makes me think of Ed. He was not an Orthodox Christian, so the sacrament confession and repentance were not on the table for him. But the overall issues discussed here are.
Lord have mercy.
Here is Ed’s online obituary: http://articles.mcall.com/1997-09-27/news/3153541_1_british-isles-air-force-veteran-missionary