Dear Trinity Family,


Those of you who have contact with preteens and teenagers have probably heard about the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.  This is a Netflix series that was released during the month of May (Mental Health Awareness Month) to raise awareness of the tragedy of death by suicide. While I choose to believe that the motives and intentions behind this movie were good, it has sparked conversations amongst youth, professionals who work with youth, and clergy. 


What we have found is youth are watching this.  Almost unanimously all have found this series dark and heavy.  Some are very concerned that this may trigger and others felt it was a thought provoking story.  While I personally have concerns that it romanticizes the issue of suicide, it does not address the finality of death by suicide.  While death by suicide may appear to be the only answer to those in the depths and darkness of depression it is nowhere close to the only option.  Mental health of our young people and adults is something we must all take seriously. 


So now the door is opened, how are we dear church going to deal with this?  How are we going to respond?  How are we going to support our youth?  First of all let’s make sure we are listening to our young people.  Paying attention to what is really being said and not our agendas or what we want them to say being willing to suspend judgment and be present.  Praying for and encouraging our youth on a regular basis. 


Parents and trusted adults if you find yourself in conversations of this series with youth… here are some questions written by a friend and colleague, Andrea Fieldhouse-Griner, you may want to discuss with our young people.

            What characters do you like and why?

            What characters don't you like and why?

            Are the characters realistic/believeable? Why or why not?

            Is your school life like the one in the series?  Are there parts of your school life                                          experience?    How so

            Do you have friends or acquaintances like the characters in the series?  What is similar                            or different?

            Do the things that happen to the young people in the series happy young people                            today?  Do you know any kids that have had these things happen to them?

            There seems to be a lack of support from the adults in this show.  What do you think                                 that is about?   Who are adults in your life that support you or you can turn       

                        to for support.

            Why are there so many “secrets” being kept?

            What feelings are you noticing from each character after each episode?

            What are you feeling after each episode?


Here are some more thoughts by my friend and mentor in youth ministry, Lyle Griner… Please continue to be attentive. 13 Reasons Why and all the talk about it may amplify feelings, fears, and possibilities of unhealthy behaviors.


When people share suicidal thoughts, or you sense hints of suicidal behaviors, get help! Suicide prevention needs good listeners like you. It is also needs mental health professionals .  It's always a bit scary to make connections, but don't hesitate. It is better to have a friend a bit mad at you for getting help, than to have a dead friend. You may be the best bridge to living life with hope and promise.


    •       Always express your own desire for life and hope.

    •       Suicide is never a good option. There are always better ones.

    •       People don't want to die; they only want the hurting to stop. Assure them that it can!


    1      Our church is here to help. Ask.

    2      Parents care deeply and want to help. Ask!

    3      You may know and trust other wise adults.

    4      Trust that you can go to or call your school's counselors.

    5      Remember, doctors and nurses want to help.

    6      Talk to each other! Talking with trusted friends is far better than stuffing or ignoring feelings!


In addition keep these numbers. 

    •       Call 2-1-1, or text 741741 for the nationwide FIRST CALL FOR HELP supported by United Way.

    •       1-800-273-TALK (8255) is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline..

    •       9-1-1 emergency line may be needed when you need help immediately. 


Note: If you hear, "Don't get involved," or "Just give it time. It will take care of itself," or, "They are only trying to get attention," move on. Find someone who will help. Some adults don't know what to do.  Keep looking for the one who knows how to help.


So this is a different type of pastoral letter this month but one that I felt called to share.  Beloved Children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for you each and every day and you are loved deeply by many but most of all God.   May the unconditional love that God has for you give your strength and hope today and always and may we be relentless in sharing that love and grace with our youth and each other.



Pastor Krista




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