Faith leaders learn more about suicide prevention at Marquette church

Faith leaders attend Soul Shop event
Faith leaders attend Soul Shop event(WLUC)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 2:25 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Faith leaders and community members met Friday morning to become more equipped for suicide prevention and support.

Upper Michigan faith leaders attended “Soul Shop” at the Messiah Lutheran Church. An event sponsored by the Michigan chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (ASFP). The chapter’s Area Director Anne Perry said the faith community has unique opportunities to reach out to people who are struggling with mental health.

“Most people if they’re connected to their faith they’re going to go to their pastor, to whoever is in their congregation leading them with concerns about their life. That includes mental health struggles, so we want to equip those leaders with the right tools, so they know how to address those needs,” Perry said.

The Suicide Prevention chapter hosts similar programs around the state. But the organization says Friday’s event is groundbreaking.

“This is the first time we’re bringing this to the U.P. so we’re very excited about it, the turnout is great. We do actually have a new trainer in the U.P. so we will be able to bring it back if need be, which we plan on doing,” Perry said.

Over a dozen leaders attended the meeting to be better equipped to address mental health in the U.P. Perry said taking the initiative to attend is an important step.

“We can all help to stop suicide, we can all equip ourselves with the knowledge and what we need to do to safeguard our own mental health and those around us. It’s all about education, that’s one of our primary goals of AFSP and Soul Shop, is to equip people with the right tools,” she said.

The ASFP has one more event in the U.P. on Saturday at the Holiday Inn on U.S. 41.

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