In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, Debo and David sit down with Reverend Dr. Jason Coker to talk about mental health. Dr. Coker recently released a new book, Faded Flowers: Preaching in the Aftermath of Suicide, about suicide and responding to pain as a church and as individuals. People deal with loss and pain in different ways, and Dr. Coker describes his own experience preaching in the aftermath of suicide.
The rate of depression is much larger in youth and minorities than a lot of people realize. In the south, the layers of poverty and racism are very deep. Children that grow up in these spaces of pressure create many stories of resilience and strength, but at the same time it can also be difficult, especially with the added intensity of a pandemic, poverty, and systemic racism. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health and suicide, call the Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information and resources. There is no shame in seeking help.
Dr. Coker is the coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi and the National Director of Together for Hope. He is also the founder of Delta Hands for Hope, an award winning nonprofit that provides meals around Mississippi in an effort to combat hunger, poverty, and injustice. Dr. Coker received a masters of divinity from Yale Divinity School and a PhD from Drew University. Faded Flowers: Preaching in the Aftermath of Suicide is available on Amazon.