Tag Archives: church

5 Ways to Face Up To Suicide In Your Community

World Suicide Prevention Day is fast approaching, and so for our finally #ThinkFive article, we’ve put together a number of ways you can face suicide in your community.

Facing the darkest condition of the mind isn’t easy, but that is the very reason it must be faced. Only by raising our voices can we break the silence and stigma which still surrounds suicide.

1. Language – If we are aiming to address suicide in our community, we must use language which destigmatizes and encourages openness. The phrases we use to describe suicide, such as “committing suicide” stem from when suicide was a criminal act. As this is no longer the case, suicide is not something to be committed! Instead, use phrases such as completed suicide or died by suicide, these phrases are accurate and do not include the language of judgement.

2. Seek Help – Suicide is not something to be dealt with in isolation, whether it’s you who is struggling, or if you’re supporting someone else, ensure that you are getting support from family, friends, a mental health team or as a part of your job role.

3. Sensitivity – If your community loses someone to suicide, avoid talking about the methods used or the way in which they were found, this is not to hide the issue, but to protect both those grieving and also those who may be facing their own suicidal thoughts.

4. Question – If you’re supporting someone who is having a hard time, whether because of depression, bereavement or any other circumstance, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve thought of suicide. This must be done within the context of a relationship and done sensitively; for example “I know you’ve been feeling really down, and I wonder if you’ve ever felt so bad that you’ve thought of ending it all”.

5. Point Upwards – Whether it be making a point to pray for those who are struggling with mental health issues in corporate prayer times or preaching on a passage in the Bible where someone approaches God with their despair, it’s important not to end with despair. There is hope, not only in the good things that can be found in life, but in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus who came to be our Immanuel – God with Us.

Kay Redfield Jamison said “Suicide is not a blot of anyone’s name, it’s a tragedy” and I wholeheartedly agree. Suicide is a tragedy, it’s not what is meant to be and its’ legacy is long lasting, but more than that suicide is preventable. There is hope.

4 Ways to Get Your Church Talking…

…About Mental Health

There is definitely a growing desire in churches to break the silence on mental health issues, so often they are desperate to engage, but have no idea how. So we’ve compiled 4 starter points to help your church join in the conversation on mental health.

1. Pray – Intercessory prayers are a vital part of the corporate church prayer life and so as well as including those you know in the congregation who are physically ill, ask those you know are struggling if they would like to be included in either intercessory prayers at church or through a prayer diary/newsletter.

2. Lament – Allow space in the church year for services of lament; look at the book of Lamentations of some of the Psalms to reflect on where God is when it hurts – both physically and mentally.

3. Preach – The Bible is full of characters who struggled with their emotions; we don’t need to diagnose them with our contemporary ailments, but we can clean wisdom and comfort by preaching from passages such as 1 Kings 19 where Elijah is desperate after fleeing from Ahab; or Matthew 26 as Jesus cries out to the Father the night of His arrest. You could even consider inviting a guest preacher to share their testimony as well.

4. Partner – Get in touch with local charities and voluntary groups who are involved in helping those with mental illnesses to see if you can fundraise or volunteer.

Deal with it – Guest blog by Chloe Lynch

You need to deal with this. It’s not fair on your husband, your family or the church, he said.

For a moment, time stood still as I stared.  Had he completely misunderstood what I’d finally managed to say?  Wasn’t this older Christian supposed to be able to make sense of this, to encourage me, to speak wisdom into this brokenness?

Then, as I breathed out, time speeded up again.  The ache of the emptiness was stronger now.  I’d opened my heart in vulnerability and the message sent back to me was that this was my fault.  Christians, it now seemed, should not be depressed; it is not fair on these around them.  So, swallowing hard and fighting back the ever-threatening tears, I did the British thing: upper lip stiff, I changed the subject.

Later that day, I cried.  Two and a half hours of tears.  I know because I journalled it.  That whole time there were voices in my mind, accusing me, telling me that I was a failure and that everything I did was wrong.  I was too young, too female and too rubbish ever to do the things that God had whispered over my life years before.  How, the thoughts taunted me, did I think I could one day become a church leader if I couldn’t even hold my own life together?

You see, my friend had told me that all he had said to me about ‘dealing with’ my already two-year-old depression was to help me to operate in God’s call.  And I don’t doubt that he honestly believed that, and I have never questioned that his motive in this was good.  I know he spoke out of love.

But he also spoke out of naïveté.  He spoke out of a belief that depression is weakness, the conviction that all you have to do is pull yourself together and snap out of it.  He spoke, I suspect, out of a hope that it might prove this simple.

Yet it was not this simple.  I don’t suppose depression ever is.  As it happened, that depressive episode lasted another two years; in fact, the darkest days were, at this point, still to come.  Nevertheless, the darkness did not last forever.  There was hope, though I could not see it then.

And, one day, despite being too young, too female and too depressed, God did give me a church to lead.

A church of precious, vibrant people living joys and brokenness much like mine.

A church of troubled saints who need to know that Christians can be depressed or sick or lonely or self-harming without being told that it is not fair on those around them.

A church of the beautiful broken who need those who will speak a different word over their wounds than was spoken over mine.

This is the call he gave me, a call which took this depression of mine and redeemed it, a call which reminds me that even what is meant for evil can, in his hands, be turned to good.  He has done it for me and he will do it for you.

And so, to him alone, to the One who redeems all things, be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations forever and ever.  Yes and Amen.

Chloe is a church leader and PhD student who blogs on life and leadership at http://theartofsteering.wordpress.com.