Teaching Clergy, Counselors and Lay People Suicide Prevention Techniques
Several years ago, Barbara Saulpaugh survived an 18-month
battle with severe depression.
Today, Saulpaugh is the regional director of CareNet, the
counseling network affiliated with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. CareNet
is the largest hospital-based program of its kind in the nation.
While at a conference several months ago, Saulpaugh heard
about a suicide prevention program called “Soul Shop.™” The program was started by a longtime minister
after three students in his community died by suicide in a seven-month period.
In the aftermath of those deaths, Rev. Russ Crabtree, MDiv,
created Soul Shop to help clergy, church leaders and lay people detect signs of
someone contemplating suicide. His seminar also educates church leaders about
ministering to family members after a suicide.
Saulpaugh believed offering Soul Shop would be particularly relevant
for CareNet, which provides faith-integrated counseling and behavioral health
services. She connected with Northwest AHEC, a program of Wake Forest School of Medicine that provides continuing education opportunities for health professionals, to support a series of Soul Shop seminars in the region.
Daylong Soul Shop training sessions were held in Mount Airy,
Mocksville, Kernersville and Winston-Salem in April. Dozens of pastors, lay
people, and CareNet counselors and psychotherapists participated.
Soul Shop helped participants develop the level of comfort
required to speak with those feeling desperate in a respectful and
life-affirming manner. It also addressed—with specific and practical ideas—ways
the faith community could confront the silence and fear that often surrounds
Saulpaugh says she recovered from her own bout with
depression thanks to, “help from my graceful God, counselors who gave me hope,
family support and a good physician.”
something really close to my heart,’’ Saulpaugh says. “Having been one of those
people who felt helpless and desperate, this training is an intersection of my
personal passion about the subject, the work of CareNet and my love for the