TUFF Suicide Prevention Ministry™
"Providing Hope, Healing, Education and Support" ℠
The "Tuff Suicide Prevention Ministry” (TSPM) was created because of the significant need of awareness in our nation and the need in our local community, as well as in the body of Christ, to care for those dealing with suicide. The Tuff Suicide Prevention Ministry is "Officially Chartered" and it's existence is validated as an Independent Ministry, through the National Association of Christian Ministers. Our ministry has been properly trained and certified through a number of local and nationally recognized organizations and programs and some include: The Nevada Coalition For Suicide Prevention, the Suicide Prevention Training Institute, The Society For the Prevention Of Teenage Suicide, TSDT -(Teen Suicide Development Training), SafeTalk -(Suicide Alertness For Everyone), ASIST -(Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), CALM -(Counseling On Access to Lethal Means), QPR Institute and Nevada Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training, YMHFA -(Youth Mental Health First Aid), MHFA (Adult Mental health First Aid) and Board Certified in Mental and Behavioral Health Coaching.
A suicide prevention outreach ministry is a “hope and healing” ministry. While it involves prayer, counsel, visits and assistance, it is centered on providing more awareness, prevention education and healing support to those who are contemplating suicide and to those who have lost a friend or loved one to the act of suicide itself, within our communities. This requires an understanding of the impact of suicide and how people react to it and how God has called His people to respond. Above all, it requires us to have within ourselves, an unfeigned hope of healing that we can take to those in need.
**Over 2,500+ hours of: Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Awareness, Suicide Prevention and Suicide Intervention training has been provided to our community along with an abundance of tools and other helpful resources**
Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. While its causes are complex and determined by multiple factors, the goal of suicide prevention is simple: Reduce factors that increase risk (i.e. risk factors) and increase factors that promote resilience (i.e. protective factors). Overall, prevention addresses all levels of influence: individual, relationship, community, and societal. Effective prevention strategies are needed to promote awareness of suicide and encourage a commitment to social change.
The Centers for Disease Control have recently released a summary of 2018 fatal injury data. Unfortunately, the summary does not include all of the information that is available on this page. In an effort to provide the most up-to-date information, Tuff Services continues to update this page where possible, with the most current data. While this data is the most accurate we have, we estimate the numbers to be higher. Stigma surrounding suicide leads to underreporting, and data collection methods critical to suicide prevention need to be improved around the globe.
- In 2018: 48,344,00 Americans died by Suicide
- In 2018 there an estimated 1,400,00 Suicide Attempts
- Suicide and self-injury cost the United States $69+ Billion Annually
The TUFF Suicide Prevention Outreach Mission:
"To provide the educational tools and resources within our communities, that will create more awareness of the warning signs and symptoms of suicide and to provide hope, healing and support to survivors -children, youth, and adults who have experienced loss"
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
- Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
- There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)
- Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
- Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)
- The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
- Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
- 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)
- An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
- There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
- There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)
- Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of US suicides. (CDC) Rates 1999 -2017
- Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (51%). (CDC)
- Females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts. (CDC)
- Females experience depression at roughly 2x’s the rate of men.(SMH)
- Females attempt suicide 3x’s as often as males. (CDC)
- Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females. (CDC)
- 1 in 100,000 children ages 10 to 14 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicidal planning and suicide attempts is significantly higher among adults aged 18-29 than among adults aged 30+. (CDC)
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)
- Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 18-65. (CDC)
- The highest increase in suicide is in males 50+ (30 per 100,000). (CDC)
- Suicide rates for females are highest among those aged 45-54 (9 per 100,000). (CDC)
- Suicide rates for males are highest among those aged 75+ (36 per 100,000). (CDC)
- Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed. (SMH)
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are 3x more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
- Medically serious attempts at suicide are 4x more likely among LGBTQ youth than other young people.
- African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual attempt suicide at especially high rates.
- 41% of trans adults said they had attempted suicide, in one study. The same study found that 61% of trans people who were victims of physical assault had attempted suicide.
- Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over 8x more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.
- Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become 2.5x more likely to hurt themselves.
**Tuff Services Ministries uses the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to compile the following list of suicide facts**
Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) Becoming Law
As of: October 19, 2020
On Saturday, October 17, after passing unanimously out of Congress, the President of the United States signed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (S.2661) into law. This historic legislation will support the full implementation of the three-digit "9-8-8" dialing code for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through funding guidance, federal reporting, and specialized services for at-risk communities like LGBTQ-youth and Veterans.
A well-resourced, easy-to-remember 988 crisis hotlines will increase access to necessary resources and support in times of crisis that will save lives.
This is a major victory for the suicide prevention movement. Of the nearly 20,000 bills introduced in a Congressional session, less than 1,000 are ever passed by Congress and signed into law.
There is still much more work to be done as we continue to advocate for a world without suicide. But through our joint efforts and your ceaseless passion we will save lives and bring hope to people effected by suicide. Please note that the 9-8-8 crisis hotline will not be nationally available until July 2022. Callers should continue to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as needed until 9-8-8 is fully operational.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I Was a Pastor’s Wife. Suicide Made Me a Pastor’s Widow
“What I learned about mental health and ministry following my husband’s tragic death”
I was 19 when I met Andrew and quickly fell in love. He was a pastor’s kid who felt called to ministry, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that life with him meant life as a pastor’s wife.
grew up attending church every Sunday but wasn’t until I spent time with Andrew’s family that I caught a glimpse of what life was like in the trenches of ministry. As I leaned in, listened, and learned, I saw that although serving in ministry can be meaningful and beautiful behind the scenes, it can also be stressful, disappointing, discouraging, and lonely.
In 2015, Andrew became the lead pastor of his parents’ church, and I quickly found ways to fill my new role as lead pastor’s wife. I served on the women’s ministry team, set up for the MOPS group on Wednesdays, and arrived on time for the very first service every single Sunday. Ministry was everything. Our entire world revolved around the local church and the calling God had placed on Andrew’s life. His calling became my calling; his passion, my passion; his purpose, my purpose.
Then on August 25, 2018, after battling through a season of burnout, depression, and anxiety, my beloved husband Andrew tragically died by suicide.
Life as I knew it changed forever and I was handed a brand-new life as a widow and single mom to our three young boys. All of a sudden ours was the sad story on the internet. I watched as images of my life and pictures of my family made headlines all around the world. We were thrust into the spotlight in an instant. While the world was watching, leaning in, listening close, I chose to speak. I wouldn’t let suicide get the last word. Just three days after he went home to heaven, I wrote him a letter and posted it to our family blog. “Your name will live on in a powerful way,” I pledged. “Your story has the power to save lives, change lives, and transform the way the Church supports pastors.” It was through that letter I first began to see God’s hand at work, redeeming what was lost and even saving lives from suicide. We received hundreds of letters, gifts, donations, books, blankets, and bouquets from complete strangers. The love was loud.
**(As many of us learned of Jarrid Wilson’s suicide, I’m reminded that pastors (and Christians) are not immune, and being honest about that is good for all of us.)**
What I noticed early on and what I’ve learned these last few years is that Andrew’s story isn’t uncommon. This week marks National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, and sadly, year after year the American church loses more of its leaders to suicide.
Many pastors and people serving in ministry positions struggle with their mental health. And sadly, they don’t always feel like there is space for them to share their struggles with their peers or congregants. Fear of losing their job, fear of losing their platform, fear of losing their voice, fear of losing respect from their peers is all a very real reality. From my experience with Andrew, I’ve learned how important it is for the church to set up leaders to respond when they inevitably find themselves in a season of ministry fatigue.
Every pastor needs a safe circle of people with whom they can be vulnerable. They need close friends and a trusted community where they can let their guard down, take off their pastor hat, and just be themselves. Andrew would often say, “It’s lonely at the top,” but it doesn’t have to be. We were never created to do life alone; it doesn’t work.
Related to this loneliness is a heavy burden of responsibility. Andrew would often refer to himself as the “linchpin,” the person holding everything together. I would constantly, lovingly, point him back to Jesus and remind him who the linchpin really was. When serving in a ministry position it is crucial to carry the mantel of leadership as a team. If we don’t allow others to share the burden with us, we will crumble under the pressure of it all.
The burden feels especially all-consuming when the demands of ministry seem relentless. It took years as pastor for Andrew to find even one day a week to rest. If we don’t create margin for rest, we will be running on empty. We have to be intentional about turning off our phone, logging off our e-mail, or staying away from our computer for the day. Rest is the key to success. The truth I’ve found through my former role as a pastor’s wife is that pastors are people too. They aren’t superhuman; they are human. They aren’t invincible; they are just broken vessels giving it their best shot to be a bright light in a really dark and desperate world. But to keep shining bright and leading from a place of strength, pastors must be deliberate about how they care for themselves too.
Pastors need community, they need to share the heavy weight of the mantle, and they need to give themselves permission and margin to heal and rest. For leaders who have pledged to the church and to God to serve no matter the cost, it can be hard—or even unthinkable—to say the personal cost has become too high. But the truth is, your life and your health are more important than your ministry. If your ministry is killing you, if it’s destroying your family, if it’s exacerbating your depression, it is time to tell somebody and take a break.
Again, this is hard for any of us to do, but it’s particularly hard for those who see themselves as fulfilling a lifelong, all-encompassing call to sacrificial leadership. But in leading like Christ, our pastors need not lead as Christ. The ultimate sacrifice has been made for us. Pastors should be free to share their pain and struggles, knowing they were never meant to carry them on their own.
**Is There Hope After Suicide?**
(A Biblical Perspective)
The first question: And the answer is yes. The dictionary defines suicide as "the taking of one's life voluntarily and intentionally." It is the taking of a life in a manner forbidden by God. It is murder—self-inflicted murder, but murder nonetheless—and God's Word states, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13).
Furthermore, life—all life—belongs to God. "In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). We don't own life. God owns life, and He lends it to us at His pleasure to be lived for our pleasure and His glory. Life is not our own to destroy, so the destruction of life by suicide is a sin.
But suicide is not the unforgivable sin! Some have taught that suicide is unforgivable, but such teaching is wrong. Homicide is not the unforgivable sin. If that were the case, the apostle Paul would not be forgiven, for by his own testimony he informs us that he was guilty of murder (Acts 26:11; see Acts 9:1; 10:21). Homicide is not the unforgivable sin; nor is suicide the unforgivable sin. The senseless taking of human life is wrong, but it is not unforgivable, even if the life taken is one's own.
When Jesus died, He paid the penalty in full for all of our sins—past, present and future. In Him, our sins are removed from us as far as the east is from the west. God did not say, "I will forgive you as long as your sins are not too great or as long as you get around to confessing everything you did was wrong." If that were the case, we would all be condemned. But the Bible declares, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
There is an unforgivable sin, but it's NOT suicide. Matthew 12:23 say, "Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." Since the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts a person of sin, reveals the truth of the gospel, and helps him believe in Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, anyone who continually rejects His promptings cannot be saved. That is the unforgivable sin---NOT suicide. It is believed that a Christian who kills themselves will still go to heaven. Our God is a loving and understanding being.
The second question: And the answer is yes. Christians can commit all kinds of sins. Christians are not perfect. In this life, we have not been fully sanctified, finally glorified. We still possess remnants of our old sinful nature, and in this nature resides the potential for every kind of sin. We have the capacity to contemplate crimes that we never commit. But even the contemplation is itself a sin.
Do you remember how our Lord Jesus expanded the meaning of the Ten Commandments with his own interpretation? For instance, the seventh commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” Jesus said that if you lust after a woman in your heart, if in your own mind you commit adultery, you are guilty of breaking that commandment (Matthew 5:27-28). The sixth commandment: “You shall not murder.” Jesus said that if you are so angry you want to kill, if you cry to your brother, "You fool!" and you desire to destroy his life, then by that very desire you have broken the commandment (Matthew 5:21-22).
It is wrong for one to take his own life, but it is also wrong for one to contemplate taking his own life. And who of us has not in a moment of despair or frustration or self-pity contemplated, at least momentarily, the taking of his or her own life? The apostle Peter walked on water, and as long as he kept his eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ, he continued to walk on the water. But when he took his eyes away from the Lord and began to look at the treacherous waves around him, he began to sink (Matthew 14:29-30).
And yet sometimes in those deep waters we forget. Our faith, which is real, is nonetheless really weak. And the fogs of despair, discouragement and depression become so thick that we cannot see the face of the Lord Jesus. So we need to pray with the man at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
The third question: Well, that depends. What happens to any person who dies, regardless of how he dies? If that person is an unbeliever, that person may not go to heaven. If that person is a believer, that person may go to heaven. If the person who commits suicide is not a Christian, that person may not go to heaven. If the person who commits suicide is a Christian, that person may go to heaven. Actually, the bottom line with any of us, boils down to what our intimate personal relationship is between us and God. Then the real decision can be made.
The fourth question: The answer is no. No doubt many will feel guilty in this situation. Why were we not more sensitive? Why were we not more caring? Why did we not encourage him or her more? What should I have done? What didn't I pay more attention to what he or she was saying? It's all my fault.
No, it's not. God makes each of us responsible moral agents, and each of us is accountable to Him for our decisions and the actions that flow from those decisions. This does not mean, however, that others are without blame and without guilt. Yes, we ought to be more sensitive and more caring and more supportive and certainly more prayerful. There is much blame to bear, and we ought to confess our failures before God, but we are not responsible for another's decision. There is a big difference between failing to support someone who is suffering and the decision of the sufferer to take his or her own life; and while we may be guilty of one, we are not guilty of the other.
The fifth question: The answer is yes—God is still in control. God is in control of all, or God is not in control at all. If there is one exception, God is not sovereign. We may be tempted to say, “God was loving enough, but God was not powerful enough to stop that tragedy.” Or we may be tempted to say, “God was powerful enough, but God was not loving enough to stop that tragedy.” No, we must affirm both the love and the power of an all-wise God. God is loving—He's kind;
He's tender; He's merciful; He's compassionate; He's powerful; He's mighty; He's sovereign—and death by suicide is an awful, horrible, terrible tragedy. We affirm both the reality of a great God and the reality of a terrible tragedy, but beyond that we affirm that the great God was in control of the terrible tragedy.
Do we have questions? Of course! We want to ask a thousand whys, don't we? Why did God allow it to happen? Why did He not stop it? We want to know why God allowed sin to come into the world in the first place, don't we? God has answers for our thousand questions. He may give us an answer, or He may not give us an answer, but that does not alter the fact that God knows the answer. God knows what He is doing.
The sixth question: And the answer is yes. All of God's promises still apply to the person who suicides, for don't you see that all of God's promises in Christ are "yes" and in Him "Amen" (see 2 Corinthians 1:20). Suicide does not contravene the promises of God. Suicide does not place one outside the parameters of the promises of God. Suicide does not make null and void the promises of God. What about the promise of Romans 8:28 (KJV): "All things (even suicide] work together for good to them that love God." Yes, even that promise applies!
The seventh question: How should we respond in the face of this teaching from God's Word? We should cry. We should cry out in pain. The Bible says to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). This is a tragedy that calls for tears.
We should cry out in pain, and we should cry out in prayer and we should cry out in praise. But most of all, we can praise God for being God, for being the God He really is, for being the God whom we can trust even in the face of such tragedies. He is the God to whom we can turn with all of our questions and heartache and pain, and He is the God who has already triumphed for us in Jesus Christ.
"If you are desperate or despondent, do not believe that your sadness disqualifies you from Jesus' love or dismays your Savior. Instead, recognize that He is the Savior of the disconsolate and loves to call the sorrowful to His embrace"