WHAT CAN YOUR FAITH COMMUNITY DO?
- Offer help and listen. Encourage children and adolescents with depression to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.
- Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.
- Pay attention to talk about suicide; most people talk about suicide before attempting it. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Silence is deadly! Most suicidal young people don’t really want to die; they just want their pain to end.
- Don't hesitate to discuss the subject of suicide and depression. Talking with young people about suicide won't put the idea in their heads. Chances are, if you've observed any of the warning signs, they're already thinking about it. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way.
- Seek professional help. It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping children and teens struggling with depression. Also, alert key adults in the young person’s life — family, friends and teachers.
- Offer Support. Implement support groups for children and teenagers who struggle with mental illness.