Kristen Coltrin has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and is working on a master’s degree in clinical social work. She has been working as an intern with the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, and felt called to help support Church leaders after an August 19, 2018 letter asking us to be more educated about suicide. The people she worked with at the hotline were excited to do outreach with organizations, and she stepped into the role of providing knowledge about suicide to Church leaders in her area. Kristen Coltrin


5:45 Letter sent requesting ward councils to review information and become more educated about suicide 6:45 There is an entire section of that is about suicide 8:35 Some statistics: suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24; some reasons people in areas with higher rates are more likely to die from suicide 10:25 Use the term suicide or dying by suicide and avoid the term “commit suicide” 11:25 The crushed bone perspective on mental health 14:00 The Church’s resources and statements about suicide, debunking some of the cultural misconceptions 16:00 Why do people choose to die by suicide?

  1. A lack of feeling connected
  2. A lack of belonging
  3. Feeling like a burden

17:00 Why is the Church a good place for suicide prevention? Community, belonging, finding a purpose in life, resources, commitments to bear one another’s burdens 18:00 Why would the Church be a place that makes people feel any of those three things? People might feel disconnected or feel they don’t belong within the culture, feeling of being a burden to the ward members, feeling shamed for who they are, leaders aren’t trained counselors 20:40 Risk factors for suicide: prior suicide attempt, substance abuse or diagnosable mental health disorders, access to lethal means, family history of suicide or violence, lack of social support, loss of a family member or friend (especially by suicide), desensitization to pain (military, first responders) 22:30 Some warning signs of suicide: inability to sleep or sleeping all the time, changes in weight or eating habits, neglecting school or personal appearance, chronic headaches or fatigue, suddenly more or less religious, and many more Graphic showing a variety of suicide warning signs 23:45 Triggering events can be anything but it’s usually a buildup of difficulties over time 25:45 Is suicide preventable? Yes! 27:15 Often when people start a new mental-health medication or otherwise begin to come out of depressing circumstances, that is when they follow-through on the suicide they have been thinking about 28:45 How do we know if someone is suicidal? Listen for the indirect verbal cues/invitations and be as direct as possible in asking them if they are considering suicide 30:55 Use the word “suicide” or “killing yourself” because it’s not just harming themselves, it’s killing themselves; contrast with cutting 32:15 Warning sign of looking for ways to prepare to take care of their family 33:30 What do you do in that moment when they answer “Yes”? Most important is to listen. 35:40 Resources to prepare in advance:

  • Suicide prevention hotlines and crisis lines: Know your national number and any local numbers
  • Church legal hotline: Wear out that number asking questions you might think are stupid
  • Local counselors: develop some resource relationships in your area
  • Utah mobile crisis line (University Neuropsychiatric Institute) 801-587-3000
  • Hospital emergency departments

44:30 Last resort when they won’t go along with you, call for a welfare check: call the local non-emergency police number and ask for a “crisis intervention-trained officer” 47:40 Veterans hotline, The Trevor Project, Church resources for areas around the world 49:20 Prepare with a field trip to a crisis center 52:30 This is something that Heavenly Father especially wants his leaders to know

Links Understanding Suicide videos Why People Die by Suicide, by Thomas Joiner You can reach Kristen by email at: klcoltrin (at) gmail (dot) com

How do we help leaders

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