The Church and those who work in ministry hold a sacred place of trust and people often look to them for hope and guidance. When we create safe places for people to be vulnerable when we offer compassion and hope.
But oftentimes it can be uncomfortable when someone shares they are having thoughts of suicide. Glen Bloomstrom, Director of Faith Community Engagement with LivingWorks shares strategies for overcoming the discomfort and creating safe places for people to share their struggles with suicide and seek help.
On the show today, we talking about Suicide prevention and the Church with Glen Bloomstrom, Director with LivingWorks.
He shares that not only is the church able to support those who struggle with thoughts of suicide, but as community leaders, it’s important for the church to create safe environments for people to share, and this usually involves less fixing and more listening.
Suicide can feel awkward to talk about. How do you bring it up? What do you say? And then there is the myth that if you talk about suicide it will give people the idea and open the door for them to self-harm.
But, I assure you, those who are suffering are already thinking about suicide and the shame and silence around the issue can be crippling. Glen shares a number of prevention strategies that your church can do to help prevent suicide and introduces us to LingingWorks.
LivingWorks is a company dedicated to empowering people to save lives and they have training designed specifically for Christian clergy and laypersons. In LivingWorks Faith, participants are trained in prevention, Intervention and Postvention
Prevention is all about reducing shame and creating safe environments so that people seek help when they are struggling. For church leaders this can be praying publically for people who are struggling with suicide, having a sermons series on God’s grace through suffering, or guest speakers talk about their story of overcoming.
Skills learned through training on how to recognize, respond and support those struggling with suicidal thoughts. You don’t have to be a mental health professional to support someone in seeking help. Like CPR skills there are simple life savings kills that any adult can learn and apply when someone is struggling with suicide.
If suicide takes place within the community, a faith leader’s role is more important than ever. LivingWorks Faith provides tools and guidelines so you effectively minister to a bereaved family and community with sensitivity, comfort, and hope.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts please call:
US National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
Canada Suicide Prevention Service 1-833-456-4566
Learn more about Living Works
Download the LivingWorks Faith Brochure
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