September is Suicide Prevention Month and today, suicide is a growing epidemic affecting many people in our world, and even in our own parish. The damaging effects of suicide are long lasting but there is always healing and hope. Part of the journey of healing is doing our part to try to prevent suicide by learning about the resources available and how we can help.
Maggie Brennan, Director of Pastoral Care at Ss. Peter & Paul, recently attended a seminar to learn about suicide prevention resources that are available and ways to discuss suicide with people who may be in danger. Here are some of her key take-aways:
Suicide prevention begins by learning the warning signs of imminent danger. This includes noticing physical signs, verbal clues about potential harm, or out-of the-ordinary behavioral traits.
An easy three-part process called QPR can be a helpful place to begin if you suspect that someone you know may be in danger. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. Question –Ask directly if the person is considering suicide. Persuade – Persuade the person to seek help from a trained professional. Refer – Refer the person to a counselor, therapist, or social worker who is trained in handling cases of people considering suicide.
Suicide can be difficult to talk about for many people because they feel so unprepared for what a person might say. It is important to remember not to try to engage a conversation that you’re not qualified for. If professional help is necessary, please refer the person to someone who is trained to help them. You can, however, begin the conversation that could save a person’s life by asking and listening to their story.