C014 Suicide Prevention Advocacy and Clergy Training

Original version

Resolved, the House of _______ concurring, That the 79th General Convention recognize that clergy are often on the frontlines of suicide prevention; and be it further

Resolved, That the institutions and diocesan programs that educate Priest and Deacon candidates be requested to offer four (4) hours of suicide prevention education, using evidence-based trainings, for its students, and that dioceses offer similar suicide prevention training for their clergy; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $7,500 for the implementation of this resolution; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention urge local congregations to call on state and federal leaders to develop and implement strategies to increase access to quality mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention services.

Explanation

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Military veterans comprise 18% of all suicides and studies show that members of the LGBT community have an elevated risk. It is estimated over 1.1 million suicide attempts occur each year. Suicide is, however, preventable.
The importance of Priests and Deacons was outlined in a national report from the Surgeon General. It emphasized the need to “provide training on suicide prevention to community groups that have a role in the prevention of suicide and related behaviors. Thousands of first responders, crisis line volunteers, law enforcement professionals, clergy, teachers, school counselors, individuals working in the justice system and/or in law enforcement, and others who are on the frontlines of suicide prevention should be trained on suicide prevention.”

Funding Implications
The typical maximum cost for a four-hour training session for up to 30 participants is $750. A widely used program is safeTALK (https://www.livingworks.net/programs), which meets the NSSP’s standards for education programs. The estimated cost to provide one program within each diocese and education institution is $7,500. The cost would cover fees toward trainers and educational material. Dioceses and educational institutions are encouraged to seek out local chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org) for additional financial support that may be needed in covering fees and materials


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