Mental Health Matters
September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It is important that we know more about this often-unspoken-about-issue. Part of what is isolating and stigmatizing about having suicidal thoughts is that many people can’t relate to feeling such all-encompassing pain. Many people who attempted suicide say this was not about a desire to die. It was about making a particular kind of pain stop. One man said, “Hope is the actual solution to suicide. When you’re suicidal, you’ve lost all hope.”
There are some serious statistics that indicate we should become better educated about the issue. Suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. And suicide is increasing in older adults. Many of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness, oftentimes not treated.
Comments like, “I’m a burden to everyone”, “I wish I wasn’t here”, “Nothing matters” can be signals that someone is considering suicide. Withdrawal from family, friends and community, dramatic mood swings, impulsive or reckless behavior, giving away possessions, and buying a weapon are danger signs. Sometimes there is a sense of the person completing things. Of course, there is a possibility of the impulsive and unplanned suicide attempt.
It is important that we are not afraid to ask if a person is considering suicide or has a plan in mind. Acknowledge their pain and ask them to share what they feel and need. Don’t try to argue a person out of suicide. Instead let that person know you care and want them to live. The important thing is that you are completely present for that person and will support them in their needs. Sometimes that need is to feel they are in control in an out of control situation. Help them to get help and keep them safe. Help to create hope.
Resources: Mental Health Crisis Line 988. If you feel a need to call police for help, be sure to add that you want a member of the Crisis Intervention Team to come and help describe the situation, especially if the person has a mental illness.
Diane Wilson, Mental Health Ministry
St. Francis Mental Health Ministry will provide a series of classes in the fall of 2023 and winter of 2024. Co-sponsors are the St. Francis Adult Education Committee and Stephen Ministry.
The overall theme is “Paths to Healing”. All classes will be Sundays at 11AM in Room 50 of St. Francis in the Foothills UMC, 4625 E. River Rd, 85718
What is Good Mental Health? October 22. Presenter is Dr Lynn Hall, teacher/counselor, Adjunct Professor Divine Mercy University, VA. She will talk about our concepts of good mental health and encourage group discussion.
The Journey from Addiction and Incarceration to Healing, November 19. Presenter is Jess Losoya, a member of St. Francis and Executive Assistant at Amity. He will talk about his recovery process and the importance of Amity in the healing process.
Dementia – What We Need to Know and Do, Coming in January 2024. Presenter is Terri Waldman, Executive Director of St. Luke’s Home.
Humor and Laughter as a Path to Healing. Coming in February. Presenter is Dr. C. Diane Ealy, author, energy healer and humor specialist. She will talk about how we use laughter to promote healing within ourselves and within the community.