When I think back to the times where I have tried to end my life, I never remember really wanting to die. I just didn't know how to keep living. In my opinion the best approach to preventing suicide is to let the person know that we are there for them and they will not walk out this journey alone. We don't have to "fix them", that isn't our job. Our job is to love and support, without judgement. To understand that the struggle is real, but not without HOPE. ~ Nate Stewart
When it comes to prevention I find it best to not try and reinvent the wheel. There are several different organizations that offer resources on how to offer crisis intervention and support.
The trick is then to customize the information to your specific community based on the resources available.
In the link below you will find information that comes from a nationwide (USA) resource in which you will want to become familiar. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline website offers a ton of resources.
Submit a link to the resource in the action button below and we will help spread the word.
This is a free resource guide that is provided by National Alliance on Mental Illness. (NAMI) Mental Health Pulpit makes no claim to the content of this file as it's own. Copyright 2018, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) This guide was prepared by Teri Brister, PhD., LPC. Permission provided by Sue Abderholden, Executive Director, NAMI Minnesota for use of materials from Mental Health Crisis Planning for Adults: Learn to recognize, manage, prevent and plan for your loved one’s mental health crisis.
www.nami.org NAMI HelpLine: 800-950-NAMI (6264) Text “NAMI” to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line
Suicide prevention is sometimes a scary area to explore. There is often a feeling of "What if I do something wrong?" that keeps people from reaching out to a person in need. This is understandable, but not a reason to keep from reaching out.
"I would much rather have a person become angry with me or upset because I asked, than to not ask and wish that I had, while attending their funeral. I am willing to love someone enough to let them hate me."
~ Nate Stewart
You are not going to put ideas in someone's head when it comes to talking about suicide. Those thoughts will come on their own. It is better to just get it out in the open so that the thoughts can be addressed.
Focus more on listening than trying to come up with the "right answers". It is better to support someone by giving them your time, than it is to try and tell them they are wrong for having their feelings. One thing I suggest is asking the person if you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline together. Most cell phones have a speaker phone option so you can both hear what is being said and this tells the person in need that you are there for them in taking the next steps and they don't have to move forward alone.
Take the person seriously, suicide is not a joke. Make sure that they have an action plan for how they are going to stay safe and never leave a suicidal person alone in a situation that allows them access to the means of harming themselves. Help them to find the resources they need even if that means calling 911.
The best time to talk about a crisis is before the crisis occurs. I highly recommend taking people through the Mental Health First Aid training that is available through the National Council for Behavioral Health.
If you want your church or organization to be a place where people feel free to openly seek help in relation to their mental health then that needs to be communicated by the leadership. Make this topic a priority and remove the stigma that surrounds mental health in your environment.
As much as I would like to see Suicide be a thing of the past, the reality is, some people will die by suicide in your community at some point. One of the best ways to prevent future suicide will come from how you respond to suicide that has already happened.
Take the time to seek out counselors in your area who would be willing to offer support. And also ask for help before a crisis arises in making sure anyone associated with your church or organization, that wants to, can learn the tools for supporting the hurting