It is Not The Members Fault

It is not the members’ fault that a pastor died by suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase the risk of suicide. https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/

 

There is no one reason why a person dies by suicide. Now I am not saying that members should not treat their leaders well. However, I am saying that pastors do not die by suicide just because their members did not come to church that Sunday. For someone who is living with a severe and persistent mental illness, stress can be a trigger. If you are living with a persistent mental illness, you have to manage your stress. Pastors and leaders have to be honest, are they performing a job that they should not be performing? And why? Are they emotionally/psychologically whole? Have they dealt with their emotional issues, or are they using the pulpit to work through problems? Are they operating in pride or fear, which is why they can’t be honest with themselves and or the congregation?

 

Living with severe mental illness, just like living with any long term illness or condition will require changes. Change in how you maneuver life, changes in diet, in sleeping habits, etc. must be managed. If you are living with a persistent and severe mental illness, you will have to manage your stress and make lifestyle changes. Now what is stressful to you may not be stressful to me, which is why you have to be honest with you. You have to be honest about your challenges and take steps to protect your health. You have to know your warning signs, relapse signs, and set up strategies to manage your mental health. 

 

There is a lot of talk going around about how hard it is to be a Pastor. Pastoring is a stressful job, but so is being a police officer, firefighter, or teacher. But because being a police officer and or firefighter is a stressful job, individuals in those professions undergo mental fitness exams. Pastors do not have such a review that they must pass. So, unfortunately, we have many people who are operating in the role of a pastor or senior leader who should not be. We have many people who are serving in the role of a pastor or senior leader who have gone into the pulpit with unresolved emotional/psychological issues. Then you have Pastors with chronic mental health issues who need ongoing support but who are not getting it.

 

 The objectives of the enemy is to kill, steal, and destroy. He can accomplish those objectives when we are not honest with ourselves about ourselves. You don’t have to battle your emotions; you can cast them on the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides. But you can’t do that if you are not honest and if you feel that you always have to have all of the answers. Pride, unresolved feelings of rejection and low self-esteem, will have us operating in areas like pastoring and other helping professions with a dishonest spirit. It is dishonest when we are not able to open up with what is going on with us and seek the help that we need.  AL (IGBATT Copyright 2019)



Children and Youth

Parents Talk To Your Children About Mental Health
 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)
TTY: 1-800-799-4889
Website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call is routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network of more than 150 crisis centers.

 


Fruit

What is keeping you from bearing fruit? Fear, other people, past mistakes? Focusing on your past mistakes can keep you mentally stuck and afraid to move forward. Understand its ok to identify mistakes but once you do learn from them and come up with a plan to not duplicate them. Don’t let the cloud of past mistakes keep you from becoming what God called you to be or to bear fruit. Again, what is keeping you from bearing fruit? Find out and make a change. Don’t be like the fig tree in Mathew 21:20. God created you for a purpose. You do have something to add to this World.



Helping A Friend (Pastor Alinicia Gibson)

If you have a friend or family member who is struggling with mental health challenges, the first thing I want you to know is that it’s not your job to “heal” them. And honestly, they probably aren’t looking for you to do that anyway. So many people get caught up in thinking that they need to “fix” other people when that’s not their job at all.

Instead, focus on letting them know that you are there for them and an ear that will listen. Many times people aren’t looking for someone to tell them what to do, they just want to know that they have a friend who will be there for them. You can be this person! Here are a few things to remember                                                                                                                                                                                                                         If you don’t understand what they are going through, then don’t say that you do.   We all have our own issues.

  1. Do not break their trust. If they are sharing something with you in private, don’t tell anyone else about it. The one exception is if they are having suicidal thoughts and you need to get them help.
  2. Check in on them. Don’t wait for them to contact you.
  3. If you ask them how they are doing and they say “fine” or “good”, then ask them how they are really doing. Let them know you want the real answer, not the fake answer they think you want to hear.
  4. Look for ways to encourage them or show that you are thinking about them.
  5. Just listen. Really listen…actively. Don’t pretend to listen while thinking about something else. It can be hard to share personal things and if they find out you aren’t really listening, they aren’t going to open up to you again.
  6. Don’t do or say anything that implies you think they need to “just get over it”.


It’s Time to Get Help (For Loved One For Your Self)

Getting Help For Some One Else

Depending on where you live, symptoms and previous history you may choose to contact your local Crisis Team or 911. A crisis team consists of a group of mental health professionals who will once you call respond to you at your location. The crisis team can help navigate you through the mental health services in your area, triage symptoms, arrange a follow-up appointment and assist you in getting appropriate help. The Crisis team after assessing your situation can sometimes help to defray an inpatient hospital stay, encourage medication use and stabilize symptoms until a clinic provider can see your loved one. Sometimes however the crisis team may decide that an inpatient stay is needed. If they do, they will help to arrange transportation to the hospital. Yet, please know that even if the crisis team feels that your loved one should be admitted the Doctor at the hospital may not agree.

A crisis team can be an invaluable asset to you and your family, but there are times in which you may have to call the police as opposed to or before you call a crisis team. When deciding between calling the cops vs. calling a crisis team ask yourself, are there weapons involved? Is there actual violence or issues related to safety present? A crisis team is a team of mental health professionals, not police officers. Only police officers have the training and expertise to manage dangerous situations and to transport a person against their will to the hospital for an evaluation.

However, just because you call the police and request that they take your loved one to a hospital, there is no guarantee that they will. In general, the police take, removing a person from their home and escorting them to the hospital against their will very seriously. Especially if they arrive on the scene and do not see the signs that you saw, or your loved one appears fine. Unfortunately, just because you feel that your loved one should be taken to the hospital because they are not taking their medications, the police may not feel the same way. Your loved one has a right to refuse their medications, to refuse to see their outpatient therapist or to get help. The question you have to ask your self is how are the signs/symptoms experienced by your loved one negatively impacting them and then be prepared to make a case.

If the police agree with you and take your loved one to the hospital, please know that they will handcuff your loved one. I point this out because many people become nervous when this happens. Handcuffing is a safety precaution for both your loved one and the police; it does not mean that they are under arrest. If your loved one was escorted to the hospital by the police or with the support of the Crisis Team, it does not mean that they will remain at the hospital. It just says that they will be seen by a Doctor who will decide if admission is warranted.
Once at the hospital the decision to involuntary commit your loved one is up to the doctor. Again, just like the police doctors do not make this decision lightly. While “Almost all states allow police and clinicians to initiate short term commitments lasting up to seventy-two hours to handle imminent emergencies” there are legal statues that must be met to hold a person against their will. Please click on the following link for more information and rules in your state (https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/component/content/article/183-in-a-crisis/1596-know-the-laws-in-your-state).

Getting Help For Your Self -Voluntary

Mental disorders are treatable, but many people do not seek out help until their symptoms become severe. If you have come to the point in your life where you feel that you need help, then you are not alone. There is hope and support for you. If you present to the hospital, seek help and are admitted then this would be considered a voluntary admission. Voluntary admissions can help to identify symptoms, clarify the diagnosis and stabilize symptoms.