Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Youths sponsor Oct. 6 seminar on suicide issues


‘It’s Time To Talk’

Workshop on suicide and depression

Oct. 6, Moore-First UMC

"My sweet baby girl loved God, she loved her family, and she loved her students. She was so kind and helpful to everyone. Please tell me she’s not in hell now. Losing her is unbearable…"

A grieving father, after the suicide of his 33-year-old daughter, was talking with Kathy Brown, pastor of New Life UMC in Moore.

That and other United Methodist conversations about such loss have led to the development of the upcoming workshop "It’s Time To Talk! A Conversation About Depression, Suicide, and the Church."

This Oct. 6 event is for all who would like to learn about the warning signs of suicide and how to Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) someone for help. Moore-First UMC will host the program, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost, $10, includes training materials and lunch.

Major sponsor is the Conference Council on Youth Ministry (CCYM).

Youth leaders and clergy especially are encouraged to sign up, to gain tools and insight needed to address the issues.

"Church, it’s time to talk about a subject that impacts our families, our churches, and our communities: depression and suicide," says Rev. Brown. "Oklahoma has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, and too often church leaders feel unprepared to address this reality in our churches."

Cases of depression and suicide have risen steadily the past decade, she notes. In 2014 the state medical examiner identified suicide as the cause of 731 deaths, and a number of other deaths ruled as accidental were deemed to be possible suicides.

The workshop will open with worship. Linda Harker, senior pastor at McFarlin UMC in Norman, will deliver a message of hope in her sermon "Suicide, the Elephant in the Living Room."

QPR training will follow, led by Julie Geddes, who is a suicide prevention senior field representative from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. She is a nationally known leader in the field of suicide prevention. QPR is not a counseling method, explains Brown, but rather a technique used to assess potential suicide victims and persuade them to get the help that is needed at that time in their lives.

The afternoon session will feature interactive conversation about the Church’s role in raising awareness and providing support for those impacted by depression and suicide.

Participants in "It’s Time to Talk" will receive 0.5 Continuing Education Units for attending.

Register online at www.okumc.org/TimeToTalk  or call Megan DeCastro, 405-530-2199. For questions other than registration, contact Kathy Brown, rev.kathybrown@gmail.com,  405-794-8393.

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