Suicide Prevention Month: Awareness is integral to our work

September 2022 · Forward in Hope, Ministry News

Among the many programs and services Saint Francis provides are those that support mental and behavioral health for young people and adults. That support is especially important because some of the people we serve might be at risk of self-harm.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide ranks among the top nine leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. In 2020, it was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 25-34.

These risks are also higher for members of an ethnic minority group, LGBTQ persons, military veterans, and males.

Many of us have a general idea of the factors that persons at risk might exhibit. If not, you can find them here.

Today, though, we’ll share the protective factors that can help protect them from those risks:

  • Effective behavioral health care
  • Connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions
  • Life skills (including problem solving skills and coping skills, ability to adapt to change)
  • Self-esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life
  • Cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide


As you can see, some of those protective factors are identical with some SFM programs and services. Our behavioral health programs already provide protective factors, as do Family Centered Treatment and Independent Living. Even our ethos supports those factors through its emphasis on human dignity, redemption, relationship, grace, and hope.

So, this month, it behooves each of us to learn as much as we can about both the risk factors and protective factors of suicide … because, for Saint Francis, it’s an integral part of our ministry to those we serve.

A good place to start is the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

In the meantime, listen for statements about self-harm. If you hear it, seek help immediately. SFM has resources for a client in crisis. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 988, and offers 24/7, free and confidential support for persons in distress and crisis.