Suicide is in the news these days. Military suicides are off the charts. Bullied teens are in the news this week along with a nationally known pastor’s son. Suicide is an important topic! We need to talk about why, for some, suicidal thoughts (fairly common across the population) become plans and actions. We need to explore what helps reduce suicide as a desirable option. We need to talk about how to care for those left after the horror of suicide.
But here’s a question: Have you ever heard a sermon or a Sunday School lesson on the topic of suicide?
I can’t say that I have.
This week I was sent a survey about graduate theological education and suicide assessment and prevention training. Our counseling students get a bit of education on suicide assessment in a couple different courses. They read an article or two on the topic. Not really enough but our challenge is to know what to cut in order to fit more suicide material into the program.
The result is that most learn in the middle of a crisis. Not really the best plan.
If you are looking for materials, let me point you to a few:
2. CCEF. Use their search tool to find their resources in this packed website (some free, some cost a bit). Jeff Black’s article on understanding suicide is helpful. There are several blogs that are free.
3. Al Hsu’s book, “Grieving a Suicide.”
If you google suicide and christian, you will notice that the vast majority of material is about whether or not suicided individuals can still go to heaven. While this is an important question, it appears that we have spent more time on this topic than on that of prevention and intervention.
Maybe we can do a bit better than this? Let’s commit to talking about it rather than being afraid.
- When Suicide Strikes in the Body of Christ (christianitytoday.com)