You may or may not know that September is Suicide Prevention month, so I want to suggest to you some good resources that may help if you consider addressing this issue from the pulpit, in Bible class, or in your newsletter. By the way, before I start I should mention that neither I, the Basin and Towel podcast, nor Christ the King Lutheran Church have received any consideration or remuneration, financial or otherwise, from anyone regarding these recommendations and suggestions.
- The first set of resources comes from The Lutheran Foundation of Fort Wayne. This is a great enterprise that is doing a lot to address mental health and illness in northeast Indiana, from a pastoral and theological perspective. They’ve sponsored a couple of terrific conferences, and offered some good continuing education modules with excellent speakers. In cooperation with the website LookUpIndiana.org they offer these excellent resources (there are links to each of these resources in the show notes):
- “Suicide Prevention Competencies for Faith Leaders: Supporting Life Before, During, and After a Suicidal Crisis” is a downloadable PDF from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The document offers understandings, strategies, and practical helps for the pastor and congregation in six areas of pastoral suicide prevention: Prevention, Intervention, Postvention, Communication; Leadership, Support, and Mentorship; and a section on unique organizational ministry settings.
- “5 Ways Churches Protect Against Suicide” is a webinar recording by author Karen Mason of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in which she talks about the need for church communities to have five characteristics to protect against suicide: they should be safe and connected, they should be skilled and equipped, they should be well-networked, they should have life-affirming preaching and teaching, and they should include specific personal and communal spiritual practices.
- “Suicide Prevention Communication Aids: Flyers, Bulletin Inserts, Posters, and Other Graphical Art” is a great collection of these materials to provide basic facts and information to anyone
- The second link I just mentioned is a webinar recording by Dr. Karen Mason of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, who has also written an excellent book titled “Preventing Suicide: A Handbook for Pastors, Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors” (you can order it on Amazon HERE>>). In this book Dr Mason talks about suicide myths and realities, suicide and Christian theology, current theories of suicide, and how a pastor and church can help people in crisis, survivors. helpers, and the whole Christian community.
- Karen Mason has a second book (with Scott M. Gibson) titled “Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit” (HERE>> is the Amazon order link). This one contains sermons, examples, liturgies, and more.
- There will be a FREE online Clinician’s Suicide Prevention Summit on September 9- and 10, 2021. HERE>> is the page that describes the event. It’s being offered for FREE by an organization that offers a lot of Continuing Education events for clinicians, social workers, etc. The FREE Registration (do you get the idea that it’s FREE?) gives you access to the live webinars, plus later access to the recorded talks, power points, etc. for another 30 days. I’ve attended several events from this group, and found them interesting, informative, and helpful. Note: these presentations are from and geared to professional, licensed clinicians in mental health, social work, and other non-theological areas, so you’ll have to supply your own theological / pastoral understanding. Nevertheless, the presentations should help you to get some grasp on current clinical theory regarding suicide causes and prevention.