News from AllianceQ: September 2018
New Resource: The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention
The high rate of suicide among LGBTQ youth is an appalling statistic in our country. According to a report from the CDC reported in the NY Times, 40% of gay, lesbian or bisexual high school students have contemplated suicide in the past year, and 29% have made an attempt. In the past year. (The NY Times article can be found here and the CDC report can be found here.)
Rev. Dr. Mark Johnston, Executive Director of AllianceQ’s Open & Affirming Ministry Program, puts it this way:
In my former life as a psychologist, I often worked with LGBTQ people who had suffered in their youth from bullying, exclusion, and fear, and the problems that come along with our society’s disapproval of LGBTQ people: depression, anxiety, substance abuse, suicide. I am well aware, too, that I was working with the lucky ones: the people who had survived their suicide attempts. It is clear to me that the church has taught society the disapproval that has led to this appalling situation, and that is where I find much of my passion for Open & Affirming ministry. In the past, I worked to heal the wounds. Today I work to prevent the wounds, and even more, to prevent the suicides
Chalice Press has responded to the problem of suicide in all of our communities with the recent publication of The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention.
Publisher’s Weekly says of the book that:
Rachael A. Keefe, author of The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention (Chalice, May, 2018), says, “There’s so much silence around suicide in the church that it is quite literally killing us.” A pastor and suicide survivor, Keefe breaks the silence of the Church on the topics of mental health, depression, and suicide prevention. The book includes resources about how to educate congregations about suicide prevention, a “What Your Congregation Can Do Now” section, clinical and theological reflections on suicide, and specific resources, scriptures, and prayers for clergy and church leaders, suicide loss survivors, and those struggling with suicidality.
You can read more about the importance of Open & Affirming Ministry in this newsletter article by Dr. Johnston, “The Open in Open & Affirming Saves Lives,” and you can learn how your church can continue the journey to more affirmation and welcome here. Details about the Open & Affirming Ministry Program can be found here.