Soul Shop Provides Religious Leaders with Suicide Prevention Tools | WJMN

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — Dozens of community and faith leaders gathered Friday at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette for special suicide prevention training.

The idea of ​​this training is to give faith leaders the tools to have courageous conversations about suicide. Michelle Snyder, director of the Soul Shop movement, told us why she loves working with small communities.

“I can go to charlotte and make one for 150 people. there may not be anyone in this room who knows anyone in this room. in a small town, you have community workers sitting next to the people they go to church with. because of what we do in the soul shop, which is to leverage community momentum to bring structural change to society. When you get people together in a room who know each other from the same community, it can really start a fire. that’s how I felt today. it felt like a group of people could continue this conversation long after I was gone. which is cool,” Snyder said.

Some chiefs drove from as far away as Sault Ste. Marie to be part of the Soul Shop. Others, including Pastor Molly Eversoll of the Messiah Lutheran Church, shared their big takeaways from the training.

“The biggest lesson to take away is just to name suicide. Not to dodge it. And how many people are affected by suicide. I know that the majority of people have thought about it in different ways throughout their lives and in have been affected. Thinking of this as a health epidemic is very powerful,” Eversoll said.

Pastor Eversoll said the training was incredibly relevant given the losses in Marquette and surrounding communities over the past year. Participants like Susan Harries of St. James’s Episcopal Church in Sault Ste. Marie says they have noticed the need for more suicide prevention resources.

“It’s been a difficult topic to talk about over the past year with the suicides that have happened, especially with our young people. So it’s incredibly relevant. I think a lot of community leaders have gathered here today and it It is important that people in places of power are the ones who initiate conversations.

Harries hopes to meet with his church congregation and report back to them about the training.

“We still have to be attentive to these needs. So I feel a lot better equipped, having gone through that part of the training to seek out resources but also just to be able to talk with people about suicidal ideation or anything else that may influence how they feel at that particular moment.” , said Harries.