By IGRC Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Counseling: Shauna Summers, LCPC, NCC
As a society, we have never lived through something where the solution to the first cataclysmic crisis became the impetus for the next overwhelming crisis. COVID-19 has changed our world. It’s like humanity is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The very interventions that could decrease our risk of contracting the potentially fatal COVID-1 (quarantining, social distancing) are the same interventions that put our mental health at risk. The choice for some may have seemed as extreme as death (by COVID-19) or death (suicide): no good options. The risk factors for suicide are well known and some of them we were self-imposing as protection from COVID-19: feeling isolated, lack of social supports, job or other significant loss, feeling hopeless or helpless, and barriers to mental health treatment.
Pastors are encountering people experiencing mental health challenges more frequently than they have in the past. This trend indicates that the needs of congregations and community may be shifting. As these needs shift, so does the role of the pastor. IGRC’s Pastoral Care and Counseling wants our clergy and clergy spouses to have the ability to recognize when someone may be suicidal and know what to do next. For this reason, PCC has sponsored an evidence-based and peer-reviewed online QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training at no cost to IGRC clergy and families ($29.95 value).
The interactive online QPR Training generally takes an hour and all learners receive an electronic version of the QPR booklet and printable wallet card immediately after completing the training. Key components covered in training include: