Faith Formation

Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention

 

If you are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, help is available: 800-273-8255.
Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. This National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
(Note: the national 988 hotline is not anticipated to be completed until July 2022)

You can also text, 741741 or click here for immediate confidential support.

Statistics on Suicide

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the Unites States.
  • In 2018, nearly 48,000 Americans died by suicide and there were 1.4 million suicide attempts.
  • From 1999 through 2018, the suicide rate increased 35%, from 10.5 per 100,000 to 14.2.
  • In 2018, suicide rates were higher in the most rural counties compared with the most urban counties for both males and females.
  • 54% of people who died by suicide in 2016 did not have a known mental health condition.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August 2020:

  • The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%)
  • Mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, Hispanic persons, black persons, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for preexisting psychiatric conditions. Unpaid caregivers for adults, many of whom are currently providing critical aid to persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, had a higher incidence of adverse mental and behavioral health conditions compared with others.
  • Approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days than did adults in the United States in 2018, referring to the previous 12 months (10.7% versus 4.3%)

Background

In 2018, General Convention passed resolution C014, which recognized that "clergy and adults who work with youth are often on the frontlines of suicide prevention" and resolved that "the institutions and diocesan programs that educate Priest and Deacons be encouraged to offer four (4) hours of suicide prevention education, using evidence-based trainings, for its students, and that dioceses offer similar suicide prevention training for their clergy and adults who work with youth." In addition, the resolution continued, "that the General Convention urge local congregations to call on state and federal leaders to develop and implement strategies to increase access to quality mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services." The resolution was assigned to for implementation to the Department of Faith Formation along with the budget line item of $75,000, which was allocated for the triennium.

In September 2019, leaders in the identified program areas were convened for a day-long "Summit" in Denver Colorado to begin the process of developing suicide education resources and trainings. As an immediate first step, several resources were identified as helpful and relevant. In September 2020, this working group gathered again to continue to refine these resources and, given the dramatic rise in suicide rates, to partner with LivingWorks to provide training for leaders in recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support. Click here to learn more and enroll in this training.

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Education and Resources

Resources for Indigenous Communities

Resources for Hispanic/Latinx Communities

LGBTQ+ Resources

Resources for Teens and Young Adults

Faith Based Resources

Training & Advocacy Resources

Other Resources

Related General Convention resolutions

  • 2009-D011: Reaffirm the Principles with Regard to the Prolongation of Life
  • 2000-A069: Authorize Additions to Supplemental Liturgical Materials
  • 2000-D008: Adopt Diocesan Resolution on Suicide Prevention
  • 1997-C013: Request Study of Theological Implications of End of Life Issues
  • 1994-A056: Amend General Convention Principles on the Prolongation of Life

If you have any questions or know of an additional resource that should be added to this list, please email Wendy Johnson, Officer for Programs and Events.