Join us in Raising Awareness for Suicide Prevention in September

September – Suicide Prevention Month

The following resources can assist you in increasing awareness and providing pastoral care.

Helpful Pastoral Tools:    

Using Social Media in Suicide Prevention
By Dave Wither. Member, NCPD Council on Mental Illness

Social media and smartphones have created a new cultural dynamic in the prevention and support of individuals who experience psychiatric emergencies (including suicide). This new dynamic of a world connected by technology provides us with new means to identify people who are suffering and in danger of hurting themselves. Those suffering, as well as crisis counselors, have new tools to help save lives. 
We are blessed that the social media providers have recognized both the problem as well as the opportunity to provide help.  Facebook, Instagram and other sources are building ways to identify people suffering and in danger by what they reveal online.
They can attempt to engage them with crisis support resources and/or care givers.  They are also providing means for families, friends and caregivers to alert the social media providers if they fear someone is in danger of hurting themselves.  Although technology and social media at times exposes the horror of the individual’s suffering, and possibly death, in ways never before witnessed, they also provide opportunities never before available.  Over time we must also learn how to incorporate these new tools and methodologies into our support structures.  The connectedness allows us and medical professionals to reach people in their darkest isolation and pain, even if they will never venture out of their isolation and into a doctor’s office.
Based on how things have changed, we ask that all support groups examine and refresh their support information for individuals suffering (or in danger of) a psychiatric emergency.  One point we need to focus on is that young people (under 30) do not like to make phone calls; they prefer to chat and/or text.  To address this cultural change, new text and chat services have been added by crisis support organizations.  We suggest that you review the information below and update all of your support material and web pages accordingly.  

 Other Helpful Links:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has added a Crisis Chat function: