Church urged to listen to people contemplating suicide

The Church of Scotland must learn to listen as well as talk when it comes to supporting those considering suicide.

The Convenor of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, the Rev Ian Galloway, said many people contemplating suicide just needed someone to talk to.

He expressed his support for an advert to be aired during prime time on Scottish television as part of the Scottish Government’s Choose Life programme, which aims to reduce suicides in Scotland by 20 per cent by 2013. The advert highlights the need for everyone to support individuals contemplating ending their life.

“It is commendable that help is being provided to train ordinary people to spot suicidal tendencies and it is very good that a problem that is affecting young people in Scotland, particularly young men is highlighted,” he said.

“While such a complex issue as suicide can most effectively be tackled by professionals in many cases just having someone to talk to can help, at least initially.”

The Church and Society Council is due to present a report on suicide amongst young people to the Church of Scotland General Assembly in May.

It is expected to highlight some of the factors that drive young people to take their own lives.

He said: “In times of economic crisis with high levels of unemployment and a gradual disintegration of family values and community life in favour of the cult of individualism anything that can be done to help in tackling the social and economic causes that make life difficult for young people is to be welcomed and perhaps we in the church need to learn to listen a bit more as well as talking.”