Dr. Caitlin Ryan’s Family Acceptance Project work on LGBT+ teen suicide prevention has been designated “best practice” by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I have gotten to know Caitlin over the last couple of years, and this is a well-deserved award (among many others) for her decades of work in this critical area.
The death of 11-year old Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover (Massachusetts, 2009) catapulted me into an intentional focus on LGBT+/SSA teen and young adult suicide prevention. My work has focused on bridging the gap between evangelical doctrinal beliefs and our practical care of gay youth. I found many resources, but it was Family Acceptance Project that stood out to me as most effective.
Lead Them Home’s work involves first demonstrating that conservative church leaders with theological/divinity education backgrounds need to expand their pastoral care abilities since they are often the first point of contact for gay youth; and second, building a training module that can be utilized by church leaders and whole congregations to ensure that we effectively help these vulnerable youth.
Lead Them Home’s The Church That Saves Lives educates evangelical church leaders on practical ways that pastoral and counseling teams can directly lower suicidal risk factors for LGBT+/SSA young people. We incorporate much of this training in our wider teaching module, Posture Shift. Lead Them Home also has developed a suicide prevention tool called ALERT!
Congratulation to Caitlin and her team on this achievement. While it is important to note that there are theological differences between Lead Them Home and Family Acceptance Project, my goal has been to learn from “the experts.” There is no one who has devoted more to this topic than Caitlin Ryan. I have learned much from her research, but the most interesting thing for you to know is that we – the evangelical community – can implement at least 70% of her findings without compromising our beliefs.
To train your team, contact me today. God bless you.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Simply use the comment form below. You may elect to comment as “Anonymous.” Share this article on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz or by email. Reach Bill at (978) 212-9630.