Faith Formation

Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention

If you are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, help is available. Please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. This National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

You can also text, 741741 or click here for immediate confidential support.

Suicide Prevention and Intervention Training

The Department of Faith Formation has secured hundreds of training slots so you and your ministry team can be trained in Suicide Prevention and Intervention free of charge.

In just 90 minutes online, LivingWorks Start teaches trainees to recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support.¬†LivingWorks Start teaches valuable skills to everyone 13 and older and requires no formal training or prior experience in suicide prevention. When you sign up for LivingWorks Start training, you’ll learn a powerful four-step model to keep someone safe from suicide, and you’ll have a chance to practice it with impactful simulations.

Intentions and Expectations

As you engage this training, please keep in mind that this is being offered as an introductory course, a quick-start intended to help participants recognize when a person is considering suicide and take quick action to get them help and support. Our hope is that this course will spark conversation and consideration about ways communities can go deeper to contextualize the learnings and begin to address issues that may be underlying increasing mental health conditions and suicidal ideation.

Sign up for the training by clicking here:

Statistics on Suicide

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the Unites States.
  • In 2018, nearly 48,000 Americans died by suicide and there were 1.4 million suicide attempts.
  • From 1999 through 2018, the suicide rate increased 35%, from 10.5 per 100,000 to 14.2.
  • In 2018, suicide rates were higher in the most rural counties compared with the most urban counties for both males and females.
  • 54% of people who died by suicide in 2016 did not have a known mental health condition.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August 2020:

  • The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019 (24.3% versus 6.5%)
  • Mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, Hispanic persons, black persons, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for preexisting psychiatric conditions. Unpaid caregivers for adults, many of whom are currently providing critical aid to persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, had a higher incidence of adverse mental and behavioral health conditions compared with others.
  • Approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days than did adults in the United States in 2018, referring to the previous 12 months (10.7% versus 4.3%)


In 2018, General Convention passed resolution C014, which recognized that “clergy and adults who work with youth are often on the frontlines of suicide prevention” and resolved that “the institutions and diocesan programs that educate Priest and Deacons be encouraged 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 adults who work with youth.” In addition, the resolution continued, “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.” The resolution was assigned to for implementation to the Department of Faith Formation along with the budget line item of $75,000, which was allocated for the triennium.

In September 2019, leaders in the identified program areas were convened for a day-long “Summit” in Denver Colorado to begin the process of developing suicide education resources and trainings. As an immediate first step, several resources were identified as helpful and relevant. In September 2020, this working group gathered again to continue to refine these resources and, given the dramatic rise in suicide rates, to partner with LivingWorks to provide training for leaders in recognize when someone is thinking about suicide and connect them to help and support. Click here to learn more and enroll in this training.

Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Education and Resources

Resources for Indigenous Communities

Resources for Hispanic/Latinx Communities

LGBTQ+ Resources

Resources for Teens and Young Adults

Faith Based Resources

Training & Advocacy Resources

Other Resources

Related General Convention resolutions

  • 2009-D011: Reaffirm the Principles with Regard to the Prolongation of Life
  • 2000-A069: Authorize Additions to Supplemental Liturgical Materials
  • 2000-D008: Adopt Diocesan Resolution on Suicide Prevention
  • 1997-C013: Request Study of Theological Implications of End of Life Issues
  • 1994-A056: Amend General Convention Principles on the Prolongation of Life

If you have any questions or know of an additional resource that should be added to this list, please contact Wendy Johnson, Officer for Programs and Events.

David Stickley

Formation Associate

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