A New Suicide Prevention Campaign for Faith Communities
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) recently launched the “Your Life Matters!” campaign. During the campaign, the Action Alliance encourages every faith tradition to dedicate one day of worship each year to celebrate life, hope, and reasons to live. Faith traditions can consider observing this celebration near September 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day. However, the message that each congregant’s life matters could be promoted anytime during the year, whenever it fits the needs of the local faith community.
Faith communities are in a unique position to reach a large portion of the millions of Americans who struggle with serious thoughts of suicide each year. Many people feel hopeless or trapped, or are in such emotional pain or despair that they struggle to face another day.
“Research shows that many people in these kinds of crises will accept help and support from faith leaders and faith community members, before they will seek care from mental health professionals,” according to Dr. Anne Mathews-Younes, Co-Lead of the Faith Communities Task Force and Division Director at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services at HHS. Dr. Mathews-Younes suggests that “Faith communities can help their members by supporting those who face mental health challenges and/or problems with misuse of alcohol and other drugs, as they seek effective treatment.”