Soul Shop™ Workshop for African American Churches in Chicago Offered to Religious Leaders to Minister to Those Affected by Suicide

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-Illinois provides training to address one of the leading causes of death within the black community

CHICAGO, May 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — With suicide deaths on the rise among black men, the Illinois The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) chapter offers Soul Shop™ for Black Churches training to equip religious leaders in ministry to people affected by suicide. TO One day workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. on SaturdayJune 3, at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95he Street, chicago. To register for the free training, visit

Soul Shop™ for Black Churches is a culturally relevant training designed for clergy, staff, lay pastors, and religious physicians to help address suicide, a leading cause of death within the Black community. Given the prominence of the church within Black communities, Soul Shop for Black Churches equips these leaders who are on the front lines of the mental health crisis to minister to those affected by all faces of trauma and the fight against suicide. . The program was developed jointly by AFSP and the Soul Shop™ Movement, an organization that equips faith community leaders and other people of faith to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicidal ideation.

“In my experience, the Black Church has always been the gateway to the black community and as such has always been revered as a place of hope and healing,” he noted. Victor Armstrong, director of the Soul Shop™ Movement’s Soul Shop for Black Churches and AFSP North Carolina board member. “Soul Shop is an excellent resource to provide clergy and other religious leaders with effective tools to help them talk to their parishioners about the despair that accompanies suicide and the impact it can have on those affected by suicide.”

Trinity United Church of Christ is a historic, predominantly African-American church with over 8,500 members, located in the Washington Heights community in from Chicago South side. Trinity is led by the Reverend Dr. otis moss iiiwho has spoken extensively about the experience of loss by suicide and the role of the church in supporting mental health care within the black community.

“Suicide rips something out of us in a very different way,” Pastor Moss said. “The mental illness, which led to my sister’s suicide, was a disease, like cancer, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell disease, or heart disease.”

The CDC’s 2021 death by suicide data intensifies the need for this training. The report analyzes trends related to age, race, and ethnicity between 2018 and 2021, which point to disparities among the black community. During 2018-2021, the black population in the US experienced a 19.2% increase in the age-adjusted suicide rate and a 36.6% increase in the rate among black youth ages 10-24.

“The crisis of rising suicide rates among Black communities demands immediate attention and action,” he said. angela cummings, Executive Director of AFSP-IL. “We know that faith communities play a critical role in reversing this trend and saving lives. The Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is pleased to partner with Trinity United Church of Christ to bring this suicide prevention training to critical importance to clergy and lay clergy throughout the Chicagoland”.

Soul Shop™ workshops address the main obstacles to dealing with suicide, such as social discrimination, fear and shame; suicide statistics/data; and how ministries can create a supportive environment while changing the culture around how people treat this issue and each other. The Soul Shop™ Movement has trained thousands nationally and internationally in suicide awareness and has facilitated the development of suicide prevention plans within numerous community teams.

AFSP and its Illinois chapter are dedicated to improving research, education and advocacy. Through its statewide network of volunteers, AFSP Illinois offers prevention education programs that emphasize the importance of research-proven self-care techniques, as well as the value of professional support.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call or text 988 for the suicide crisis lifeline. Or text TALK to 741741 or go to

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and providing hope to those affected by suicide. The organization creates a mental health-smart culture through educational programs, advocacy for suicide prevention, and support for those affected by suicide. All donations go towards these efforts with the goal of greatly reducing the national suicide rate. For more:

Suicide Prevention Resources:
Suicide warning signs:
Media: Reporting on Suicide Prevention:

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention