What Would You Do?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Imagine this scenario: You are a volunteer at church and have just finished your 5th-grade Sunday school class for the day. The kids have all gone home, and you won’t see them again until next week. You are tidying up the classroom and you pick up Chloe’s notebook from the floor. As you pick up the book, a note falls out. The note says, “I want to die.” What do you do?

You may be thinking that there is no way the note could be serious. After all, Chloe and her classmates are just 11 and 12 years old. But, would it surprise you to know that many pre-teens think about suicide, and one of the warning signs is talking about or hinting at suicide? The good news is that you found the note and you can now take action. The question is, what is the appropriate first action should you take?

Your first step should be to immediately contact the children’s ministry director at your church. He or she will probably notify the child’s parents and/or local authorities if the child is a danger to himself or others. If you cannot contact the ministry director immediately, take the problem to your pastor. Keep in mind that in some states, suicidal threats are part of mandatory reporting duties and must be reported to the proper authorities.

Though you may never know for sure, it’s possible that you saved a life by finding that note in your classroom. This may have been a note written in haste, but it could be the cry for help that puts the child onto a better path.