Office of Christian Care and Counseling

September is Suicide Awareness Month

We invite you to help prevent suicide and increase awareness.

Save the Date: September 24, 2022, from 11 am -1 pm ET–The Office of Christian Care and Counseling along with The Children and Youth Ministry will have a Drive-By distribution of medicine lock boxes and gun locks. (ASBC back parking lot)

In May, 2022 The Office of Christian Care and Counseling collaborated with The Children and Youth Ministry to present a two-part series entitled “It’s Time to Talk”. Each segment includes candid conversations about suicide awareness and prevention. If you missed it, please watch here:

Youth Conversation

Parent Conversation

According to the CDC and NIMH suicide rates have increased by 35% since 1999. On average, in the US, 1 person dies by suicide every 11 minutes Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-34. 1 out of 6 high school students have considered suicide. Comments or thoughts about suicide — also known as suicidal ideation — can begin small like, “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing matters.” But over time, they can become more explicit and dangerous.

Suicide is preventable. Awareness, prevention and intervention is key.
Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other — they can be treated, and they can improve over time. Suicidal thoughts are common, can be temporary and managed. But if left unresolved, and if the thoughts are more frequent and last longer-the effects can be more devastating.

Over the last decade, suicide rates in the United States have increased dramatically among racial and ethnic minorities, and Black Americans in particular. The death rate from suicide for black or African American men was four times greater than for African American women, in 2018. In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for blacks or African Americans, ages 15 to 24.

When dealing with a sensitive topic such as suicide, we can incorporate our faith. We can share that faith and help the person build hope and resiliency. It is important not to debate about suicide and is it right or wrong—focus on helping the person bridge the gap between hopelessness and hopefulness. Building hope and resiliency with faith – incorporating faith, prayer and scriptures can assist someone in building and maintain hope in addition to helping with resiliency skills. Help the person find a scripture or suggest: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

Here are a few Myths, Facts and Important Tips:

Myth: talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
Fact: Talking about suicide provides an opportunity to speak openly and honestly about situations, thoughts and feelings. It can lead to prevention and help assist someone with intervention strategies.

Myth: Once a person is intent on suicide, they cannot be stopped.
Fact: Suicide is preventable.

Myth: People (especially young people) who threaten suicide are just being dramatic or seeking attention
Fact: All threats and/or discussions about suicide need to be viewed as a serious concern.

Myth: Minorities and people of faith do not attempt suicide or complete suicide.
Fact: Everyone has the potential for suicidal ideation and suicide.

Myth: All young people that experience depression are suicidal.
Fact: Depression is a contributing factor, however, it does not have to be present for a person to attempt or die by suicide.

Myth: Once a person thinks about suicide they will always think about suicide.
Fact: Most young people only consider suicide for a limited period of time. With proper intervention, support and strategies; recovery and leading a meaningful life moving forward is possible.

Myth: A psychotherapist or mental health clinician is the only effective intervention for suicide.
Fact: Everyone that interacts with adolescents in crisis can help with emotional support, encouragement and providing guidance for additional resources and intervention. Psychotherapeutic interventions rely on the support of community, friends and family.

Myth: Break-ups do not cause suicide.
Fact: A break up or loss of a relationship can be a catalyst for suicide.

 

Important Information:

Risk Factors:
Research has found that 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. However, several other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide
  • A mental health disorder diagnosis
  • Substance use. Drugs can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than 1 in 3 people who die from suicide are under the influence of alcohol at the time of death.
  • Access to firearms
  • A serious or chronic medical illness · Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Prolonged stress
  • A recent tragedy or loss

Warning Signs

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits.
  • Loss of interest in usual activities.
  • Withdrawal from friends and family members.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Acting-out behaviors and running away.
  • Alcohol and drug use.
  • Neglecting one’s personal appearance.
  • Unnecessary risk-taking.
  • Obsession with death and dying.

Intervention—Asking about suicide does not cause suicide

  • Look for warning signs
  • Be prepared to actively listen
  • Explain your concern
  • Express empathy
  • Do not debate if suicide is right or wrong
  • Don’t judge show respect
  • Ask directly—do you want to attempt suicide, harm yourself, not live, end your life etc…
    • Ask access/means ie, guns, pills, belts, any weapons
  • Ask if they have a plan.
  • Don’t shame or add guilt—help them see more helpful ways to look at the future—install hope and build coping and resiliency strategies.
  • Create safety
  • Remove dangers

If no immediate plan or access or means– Contact a mental health provider for further evaluation, keep a close watch on the person. A mental health provider can evaluate the root causes and provide appropriate interventions and strategies to provide safety and eliminate further risks of suicide.

If the threat is immediate call 911, go to the ER or call the Crisis hotline 988

Please remember: When someone dies by suicide, respect their death by not disparaging them by focusing on the cause of death.

Tools/Resources:

RESOURCES:

Immediate Emergency or Crisis: Contact 911 or go to the ER

National Suicide and Crisis Hotline: Call or Text Crisis Hotline 988

General information:

NAMI (national alliance on mental illness) NAMI.ORG
Alfred Street Office of Christian Care and Counseling: PastoralCounseling@AlfredStreet.Org

Drop us a line at pastoralcounseling@alfredstreet.org and tell us how you are doing!

For further information, assistance, or for counseling referrals email:

NOTE: due to an overwhelming response, counseling requests are being wait-listed and answered in order received.  Contacting your insurance provider, employer provided employee assistance program team or EAP team or larger platforms like Better Help or Thrive works may be a better option for an immediate request.