Closing the Exits: How Can the Church Prevent Suicide?

Author Kathleen Phillips, MSN is a retired instructor in the field of psychiatric nursing, and a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Syracuse

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National Suicide Prevention Week is September 6-12, 2020.

National Suicide Prevention Week is observed each year during September. It is an annual campaign designed to inform and educate the public and professionals about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. The week includes World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2020.

The statistics are daunting and the numbers are not going down. About 48,000 Americans will die by suicide this year. An estimated 1,400,000 persons will attempt suicide. These estimates may be revised upward in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We Episcopalians are people of hope, compassion, and community. We believe in a loving and life-giving God. Who better to address the prevention of suicide?

“Even though recent high-profile suicides have put mental illness front and center, there are thousands of New Yorkers, from all walks of life, who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. New York has the fifth largest total number of suicides in the nation, with 1,652 in 2015. It is estimated that for every suicide death, there are 25 non-fatal attempts. In New York State, there were more than 21,000 hospitalizations and emergency department visits for self-inflicted injuries in 2014. A disproportionately high number of these injuries were by adolescents.” – New York State Department of Mental Health

Download a packet of Suicide Prevention Resources, including:

        • 73rd General Convention resolution on Suicide Prevention
        • Prayers
        • Who is at risk for suicide? What are the warning signs?
        • How can the church help?
        • Suicide Prevention Ministry: Developing a Plan of Action
        • References and Links


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