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By Greg Hughson in All Sorts

an insight and some ideas to help us relate to people who are overwhelmed by life

This weekend (and through until Wednesday) I am at Methodist Conference at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. It will be good to renew friendships and make new friends at Conference, and to work together for healing, justice and peace. Leading up to Conference this year, daily prayer e mails were prepared by 21 Methodist people, focusing on specific issues to be addressed at Conference. These e mails were sent out, one each day, leading up to Conference. I prepared this information, and the prayer pledge below for one of the e mails which were circulated to our whole Church family, not only those going to Conference. Hundreds, if not thousands of people, will have (or will in the future) pray this prayer. NZ has the highest Youth suicide rate in the world. May my prayer play some small part in helping bring down our tragic statistics. Every life matters. Our Churches need to step up our activities in every area of suicide prevention, which is wherever healing and hope are needed. My message and prayer below, need not be restricted to Youth, or any particular age group.
“I have come in order that you might have life - life in all its fullness.” John 10 vs 10 https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/a-z/resource/48/suicide- worried-about-someone
The Bible reminds us that God longs for us all to live full, healthy and meaningful lives. For healing to occur, it is important to bring our problems and feelings to God in prayer. We need to share our mental health and emotional struggles with each other. Trusting that we are loved by God and by each other, we need not hold back on sharing about whatever it is we are facing, and how we are feeling. Never stop telling and showing those you are close to, just how much you love them and how much they mean to you. Keep reminding each other that it is OK to ask for help. Educate yourself about mental illness. Learn strategies to manage stress and be open to sharing your emotional pain. People who feel suicidal often feel like they are alone and that their family, whānau and friends would be better off without them. This is not true. Suicide eliminates the possibility of life getting better.
A prayer pledge:
Loving God, thank you that my life is precious. Therefore, I promise you, and I promise myself, that from today onwards, I will tell someone I trust whenever I am feeling stressed, overwhelmed or suicidal. I will look out for warning signs of distress in myself and in others. If I am concerned that a friend or family member might be suicidal, I will ask them if they are indeed thinking of taking their own life. Help me Lord to listen without judgement, and to do all I can to keep myself and my friends and family safe. Motivate me to get help for myself and for others when needed. I know that I do not need to feel ashamed to ask for help. Whatever I have done or however whakamā I am feeling, I am still loved. Thank you Lord for your love for me, a love which will never leave me, no matter how bad I am feeling. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you have prayed this prayer, I encourage you to let your family and friends know. Please give your family and friends a copy to pass on to others.
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor.
Rev Greg Hughson
Ecumenical Chaplain, Otago University