There’s never been a time when mental health and suicide have been talked about more in culture than right now. And with teen suicide trends on the rise, it’s more important now than ever to address this issue in our ministries. On this episode, join ministry leaders for a conversation with licensed professional counselor, Kayla Lin. They’ll discuss how to navigate the topics of mental health and suicide in your ministry, what to do when a student displays signs of suicidal ideation or shares they’ve had suicidal thoughts, and how you as a ministry leader can lead through the tragedy of student suicide.



There hasn’t been another time when mental health has been talked about more. (3:00)

When a student shares that they are thinking about suicide, freak out on the inside and stay calm on the outside. (4:30)

What are some things that are helpful for ministry leaders and volunteers to be on the lookout for when it comes to suicide ideation? (6:00)

If a student is showing up less often, is less engaged, or are not hanging out with their friends, they might be showing signs of isolation. (7:00)

When we see a student struggling with signs of suicidal ideation, check in with them. Ask if they’ve ever thought about hurting themselves. (9:00)

If a student has expressed that they’ve thought of hurting themselves, ask them what their plan would be to hurt themselves. (9:30)

When somebody tells you something heavy, say, “I’m so glad that you told me.” (10:00)

By asking questions, it shows students that you are taking them seriously and that you care. (10:30)

SAL: Suicidal Ideation. Accessibility to their plan. Lethality. (11:30)

What do you do when a student doesn’t want you to tell anyone what they’ve told you? (12:45)

Respond with: “I want to help you, but I think that the only way I know how to help you is to get your parent or a professional involved.” (13:30)

If a student expresses they are going to hurt themselves, hurt someone else, or are being hurt (also known as the “3 Hurts”), you can’t keep that information to yourself. (14:30)

Ask them, “Do you trust me to do what’s best for you?” (15:00)

Suicide rates increase around sixth grade, and begin to decrease around tenth grade, when students normally get their driver’s license. (19:00)

Continuously make mental health, self-harm, and suicide a part of the conversation, even if it is not the topic of a talk. (21:00)

Talk to other ministry leaders who have led through a student suicide in their ministry. (22:00)

If you know another youth pastor who is or has gone through a student suicide, reach out to them, encourage them, and pray for and with them. (24:00)

As a ministry leader leading students and volunteers through a suicide, find yourself a professional counselor and give yourself permission to grieve. (27:00)

You need an army of small group leaders to walk through a student suicide alongside your students. (31:30)

Ask yourself, “What do I need?” (32:30)

The most important thing we can do is come up with a plan for what to do when suicide does impact our students and our ministry. (35:15)

Allow yourself to personally grieve. Don’t ignore it. (36:00)

What do you do when the parent minimizes the signs of suicide ideation? (37:20)

Ask the parent: “At what point will you believe them?” (37:45)

The ministry of presence matters. (39:00)

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