devozine

For Youth Workers Post

SUICIDE

Darren Wright

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for January 26–February 1, 2015.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

“This is the most difficult theme for any youth ministry gathering—heck, any gathering. I’ll provide a few suggestions to help you reflect on this week’s theme, but it’s entirely up to you how you and your group want to do this. I would suggest that you seek out another leader, perhaps your pastor, to sit in on this meeting since the group may have a lot of questions and unpacking to do.” —Darren

MEET THE WRITER

darrenDarren Wright is a Uniting Church Education Worker serving in the Riverina Presbytery in New South Wales, Australia, as the Presbytery Youth and Children’s Ministry Worker. Darren has previously worked in congregational ministry, high school chaplaincy, and local government as a youth worker (as well as a petrol station attendant, supermarket employee, dairy manager, furniture sales person at David Jones). His interests include music (Moby, Radiohead, Ben Harper, The National, Muse, All India Radio), film (MegaMind, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, Scott Pilgrim), TV (Chuck, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Community), theology, pop-culture, working with young people in at-risk areas, and is particularly interested in how the church and theology connect with pop culture. Check out his blog.

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • Choose which option you want to use in this session (see “Session Options” below), and gather the materials you will need for that activity.
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session

PLUGGED IN

If you want to develop this session in other ways, here are a few resources that may be of assistance. [NOTE: I live in Australia, so I thought I’d link to a number of Australian resources that are available online. You will need to do some homework to find your local mental health services, suicide prevention programs, and support networks.]

SONG

ARTICLES

RESOURCES

TOOLKIT

PODCAST

BOOKS

SESSION OPTIONS

OPTION 1: DEBRIEF & DISCUSS

If you decide to spend the time debriefing the devozine readings and reflections from the “Suicide” theme, invite at least one extra leader to be present to help you answer questions and deal with any group members who may need individual attention.

Provide some paper or canvas, a number of colors of paint, and some brushes. Also have available candles and matches (optional).

Invite the group to think about the readings, stories, prayers, and poems about suicide in devozine this week. Then invite each person to spend 30–45 minutes painting a response to the devos or creatively expressing their feelings, thoughts, or struggles during the week.

When everyone has finished painting, invite people to share their stories with the group by answering any or all of these questions:
       What can you tell us about your painting?
       What did you struggle with over the last week?
       What did you find helpful during the last week?
       Is there something you would like to follow up on?
Give group members the space and time needed to share their stories.

When everyone has had a chance to share his or her painting, close with prayer. You may want to give each person a lit candle as you say a prayer for him or her individually. When the prayers are completed, invite group members to take their candle with them as they leave the session.

OPTION 2: INVITE A GUEST SPEAKER/PRESENTER

Invite a speaker from a suicide prevention and support organization or program to share with your group.

If you choose to close with the candlelight prayer, have available candles and matches.

Ask the speaker to share with your group one or both of the following:

  • Lessons he or she has learned about how to work with friends or others who have admitted they were contemplating suicide
  • Lessons he or she has learned about how to stay healthy and keep a healthy mind and body.

Allow time for the group to ask the speaker any questions they have about the presentation or about suicide-related issues.

When the question and answer time winds down, close the session with prayer. You may want to give each person a lit candle as you say a prayer for him or her individually. Perhaps someone in your group would like to give the speaker a lit candle and to pray for your guest and for his or her work. When the prayers are completed, invite your guest and group members to take their candle with them as they leave the session.

OPTION 3: ENJOY EXERCISE & A MEAL

Suicide prevention resources regularly stress that healthy eating and regular exercise can help people keep a positive mindset. This option allows you to offer group members a chance to exercise and enjoy a healthy meal together.

Reserve a few squash, handball, or tennis courts; or if your group is large, find a gym in which to play a few active team sports. You may also need to recruit volunteers to prepare the meal and to provide transportation. Also have available candles and matches (optional).

Take your group members to the designated venue, and encourage them to exercise together for several hours. Afterward, take them out for a healthy meal, or have volunteers from your church cook a healthy meal for group members to share together. During the meal, invite conversation about the devozine readings and reflections on suicide, and encourage group members to share their own thoughts and feelings after reflecting on the issue of suicide for the past week.

When the conversation draws to a close, end the session with prayer. You may want to give each person a lit candle as you say a prayer for him or her individually. When the prayers are completed, invite group members to take their candle with them as they leave the session.

TAKING IT FURTHER

Plan for your group to visit an organization, such as LifeLine, that provides support to those who are contemplating suicide. Perhaps your group members would like to go through training together in order to become peer counselors or to learn what to do if a friend is contemplating suicide.

—from devozine In the Habit (January/February 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

Back To Home

To Order Devozine Magazine, call 1.800.972.0433.