COLORADO SPRINGS. In a continuing effort to address the rising rate of suicide among teens in El Paso County, St. Patrick Parish is hosting an internationally recognized expert on teens.
On May 7 at 6 p.m., Roy Petitfils will speak on the topic of preventing suicide among teens, with practical steps that anyone can take to identify people who are suffering and assist them.
“Considering the issues we have with suicide, same-sex attraction and gender identification, I think it’s important to offer resources and training in these areas, said Steve Schindler, St. Patrick youth minister. This is the parish’s second event of this kind. The first was on Feb. 8, when Janet Karnes from the Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention Partnership gave a workshop on how to look for signs of depression and suicide.
The May 7 event, although it is open to all, is directed toward empowering teens to understand that suicide arises out of mental health disorders and that it is possible for anyone to identify and assist a vulnerable person, if they know what to look for.
“This will be something appropriate for middle school and high school youth, young adults and parents as well,” Schindler emphasized. “I want people to have the information prior to the presentation, so they can take advantage of it and be here to hear him speak.”
Petitfils is a licensed professional counselor at Pax Renewal Center in Lafayette, La. Recently he addressed the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry. He studied ministry and spirituality at The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling from the University of Louisiana.
Petitfils worked with youth and young adults for more than 20 years as a minister, teacher, school administrator, school counselor and now as a counselor in private practice. He specializes in counseling teens and young adults and regularly consults with churches, publishers and organizations to help them more effectively reach those age groups. His website is www.roypetitfils.com. A TED talk of his can be found on YouTube.
Petitfils has published four books, including his most recent book, “What Teens Want You to Know (But Don’t Tell You).” His blue collar roots, natural humor, contagious enthusiasm and diverse personal and professional background have made him an internationally sought after presenter and trainer.
“I want to be sure everyone knows they are invited to attend, including those outside of the Catholic faith,” said Schindler. Admission is free, but a free will offering will be taken up.