In December 2012, a wellness ministry was formed to provide suicide prevention training in the archdiocese following four suicides in a 6-month period.
“We wanted to focus on suicide prevention instead of post-vention,” said Amy Shipman, counselor of Saint Joseph’s Counseling Center at Catholic Charities.
The Cabrini Wellness Ministry equips educators, parents, clergy and ministry leaders with the tools to respond appropriately to those who are expressing or exhibiting suicidal symptoms. The three trainings identified in the Cabrini Wellness Ministry plan are: QPR Training, Mental Health First Aid and Lifelines Prevention Program.
The Cabrini Wellness Ministry trainings have been conducted throughout the Archdiocese. QPR training is required for all employees of the archdiocese. Over the past five years, more than 2,000 people have been trained in QPR and more than 200 people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid.
“The Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) and Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings are significant steps in addressing mental health issues and suicide prevention,” said Pat Koenig, director of religious education for the archdiocese.
More than 85 percent of diocesan priests have been trained along with Catholic school staff, deacons, directors of religious education, and youth and camp staff in every region of the archdiocese.
“According to a national survey, more than 90 percent of people who are in crisis turn to their church community before they turn to a mental health professional,” Shipman said. “Archbishop Coakley has been extremely supportive of the Cabrini Wellness Ministry. Giving his stamp of approval has helped us get the training to parishes and communities across the archdiocese. When we held the first priest training, he was in the front row and extremely engaged.”
Recently, St. Joseph’s Counseling staff was invited to present the Cabrini Wellness ministry model at the 2017 Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering. Catholic Charities USA recognized the value of the Cabrini Ministry and how the strong partnership between Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and the archdiocese could be duplicated in other dioceses.
For more information, contact Amy Shipman at Catholic Charities at (405) 523-3000.