Navy Medicine Chaplain Offers Compassion for Suicide Prevention

I remember my first experience interacting with someone who was suicidal. Even though I was with my pastor, it was a scary occurrence.

I was 23 years old and learning to be a chaplain. He had been called by this young man who said that he had taken some pills. We immediately left his office and went to his house. On the way, he explained the situation to me. I was wondering how we are going to handle this situation and what I should say. My heart was racing as I prepared for this moment.

We rang the doorbell and his parents answered. As my pastor told them why we were there, they said that he was upstairs and they don’t think he’s suicidal.

“I want to talk with him,” said my concerned pastor.

“No problem,” said the parents.

They called him downstairs and my pastor asked him if he had taken some pills and attempted to kill himself. He said yes.

“We don’t believe him,” said the parents.

Since my pastor had known about the struggles of this 17-year-old teenager, he said, “I believe him and I would like to take him to the ER.”

I stood amazed and astonished by the parents’ response.

They said, “Go ahead and take him to the ER. He’s just looking for attention.”

by Capt. Roosevelt Brown, a chaplain with the U.S. Navy

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