Pathways to Promise|
5400 Arsenal Street
St. Louis, MO 63139
FAX: (314) 877-6405
- The pastor should regard this a serious cry for help.
- The pastor should assess the suicidal potential. For example has the person threatened or made attempts at suicide before? What happened? At the time of the threat, were there unusual circumstances or stress in this person's life? Was the threat used to arouse sympathy from the pastor or others?
- Listen to the person as he/she may find the pastor the easiest person or the only person it is possible to talk to. The pastor should show the person he/she cares about the person. Listen without making judgements or telling the person how to feel. Do not use statements such as, "You shouldn't feel that way," or "You don't know how lucky you are."
- The pastor should take the person seriously and show this when they speak with him/her. Avoid arguing.
- The pastor should talk to the person about suicide. He/she should discuss what suicide means and its finality. By talking the situation through and offering a caring place to discuss the situation the pastor may sometimes pull the person through the crisis. The pastor should use a soft voice, speak slowly, and keep responses short and simple.
- The pastor should stay at a distance if the person is agitated because he/she may fear any sudden movement or being cornered.
- The pastor may have to compromise confidentiality in the interests of possibly saving a life.
- The pastor should know emergency telephone numbers, such as emergency services, the police, the person's physician, etc.
- The pastor can accompany the person, or see if someone else who is close to the person will accompany him/her to the emergency room if it seems warranted in this situation.
- Emergency services or hospital emergency room staff must be alerted if the pastor knows of any previous suicide attempts; if there is plan for how the suicide will be carried out; and if the pastor knows what the plan is.
A helpful resource: THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE - 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in our national network of more than 150 crisis centers. The Lifeline’s national network of local crisis centers, provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.
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