The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – Galatians 5:6

Today, I will share an acronym (ACT) on how we can help others when they share with us the desire to harm themselves. We use this in the school setting to help teens know how to handle suicide discussions. Go to Stop Suicide Today for more information.

A – Acknowledge C – Care T – Treatment with an adult or professional

Acknowledge – Sometimes people share that they wish to harm themselves or are simply acting differently than normal. The first thing we want to do when someone shares with us that they may harm themselves is to acknowledge what they say. Don’t act like you didn’t hear it or try to minimize it. Repeat to them what they said and ask, “Do you want to harm yourself?” or “Have you considered killing yourself?”

Having someone to listen is vital for the safety of your friend. Make sure they now know that what they’ve said is important to you and you care.

Care – Drop whatever you’re doing and place your full attention on your friend. Whatever you’re doing takes a back seat to this situation. Let your friend know that you deeply care about them and they have your full attention. Ask specific questions like: “Do you have a plan to harm yourself?” or “If you were to kill yourself, how would you do it?” Research says that you will not be planting ideas in their head by asking these kinds of questions.

Clear out your schedule so that you can care by seeking treatment.

Treatment – Most people are not trained on what to do next, but there are many resources available to get needed help. This is the time to insist on finding a responsible adult or professional to help – now. Insist on getting help. The temptation here is to “keep this a secret” between the two of you and hope it gets better. Often it does not get better without an intervention of some kind.

Helpers include parents, ministry professionals, church elders, school or community counselors, or the Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255).

The church setting is the the perfect place for recovery. Learn how to set up a Disciples In Motion weekend visit with Tim. It includes many different opportunities for mental health trainings in the church setting. Click here for more information.