Mental Health Training

One in five Americans is affected by mental health conditions. Stigma is toxic to their mental health because it creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence that prevents many people from seeking help and treatment.

How to respectfully meet someone living with a mental health condition:

Use person-first language to reduce stigma and shame.

Things to Avoid Saying:

Instead of:


Things to Avoid Doing:

When to Make a Referral to a Mental Health Professional

For assistance with referrals and scheduling appointments with Mental Health Professionals, please contact Jessica Sterling ([email protected]).

All calls for suicide intervention are to be documented and recorded in pastoral care notes and/or to your immediate supervisor.

Suicide Rating Scale

In the U.S. there’s an average of more than 110 suicides a day. More people die by suicide than in traffic accidents.

Suicide ideation definitions and prompts:

Ask questions in bold.

Past month

Ask Questions 1 and 2

1) Wish to be Dead:

Person endorses thoughts about a wish to be dead or not alive anymore or wishes to fall asleep and not wake up.

Have you wished you were dead or wished you could go to sleep and not wake up?

2) Suicidal thoughts:

General non-specific thoughts of wanting to end one’s life/commit suicide, “I’ve thought about killing myself” without general thoughts of ways to kill oneself/associated methods, intent, or plan.

Have you had any actual thoughts of killing yourself?

If YES to 2, ask questions 3, 4, 5, and 6. If NO to 2, go directly to question 6.

3) Suicidal Thoughts with Method (without specific plan or intent to act):

Person endorses thoughts of suicide and has thought of a least one method during the assessment period. This is different than a specific plan with time, place, or method details worked out. “I thought about taking an overdose but I never made a specific plan as to when where or how I would actually do it…and I would never go through with it.”

Have you been thinking about how you might do this?

4) Suicidal Intent (without specific plan):

Active suicidal thoughts of killing oneself, and patient reports having some intent to act on such thoughts, as opposed to “I have the thoughts but I definitely will not do anything about them.”

Have you had these thoughts and had some intention of acting on them?

5) Suicide Intent with Specific Plan:

Thoughts of killing oneself with details of plan fully or partially worked out, and person has some intent to carry it out.

Have you started to work out or worked out the details of how to kill yourself? Do you intend to carry out this plan?

6) Suicide Behavior Question

Have you ever done anything, started to do anything, or prepared to do anything to end your life?

Examples: Collected pills, obtained a gun, gave away valuables, wrote a will or suicide note, took out pills but didn’t swallow any, held a gun but changed your mind or it was grabbed from your hand, went to the roof but didn’t jump; or actually took pills, tried to shoot yourself, cut yourself, tried to hang yourself, etc.

If YES, ask: Was this within the past 3 months?


Past 3 months?

Any YES indicates the need for further care.

However, if the answer to 4, 5 or 6 is YES, immediately ESCORT to Emergency Personnel for care call 1-800-273-8255, text 741741 or call 911. DON’T LEAVE THE PERSON ALONE. STAY WITH THEM UNTIL THEY ARE IN THE CARE OF PROFESSIONAL HELP.