Breaking the Silence—Seventh-day Adventists mobilize for life
Walks, health expos and lectures took place throughout the country to warn about suicide
South American Division (SAD)
[South America] According to the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds a person takes his own life somewhere in the world. Mental illness has taken hold of our society, which suffers more and more with the depreciation of life. For the experts, extreme attitudes, such as ending one's life, could be avoided if there were less prejudice and more dialogue on this topic.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has chosen to address this issue in the 2018 Breaking the Silence campaign, titled "I Don’t Want to Die". This initiative has been taking place since 2002 and has addressed various types of violence, such as violence against children, against the elderly, against women and bullying. By means of mobilizations, events, and lectures, Seventh-day Adventists aim to make the community aware of the need to talk about this issue.
The official church channels on the Internet also were used as tools to bring awareness. Topics such as self-harm, depression, and suicide were dealt with in an hour long live broadcast. Internet users were able to get their questions answered in Portuguese and Spanish by psychologist and self-harm expert Carolina Raupp, and the viewers were also given the opportunity to talk to volunteers via a WhatsApp number.
Recognition in the community
Several cities in Brazil recognized the seriousness of the project by giving one day on the official city calendar to Breaking the Silence. In Goiânia, capital of state of Goiás, the mayor of the city sanctioned a law establishing that that every fourth Saturday of August, will be the official Breaking the Silence day in the city.
The mining city of Juiz de Fora approved in the City Council a special day for Breaking the Silence. The city of Cachoeirinha, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, also had a bill presented at the City Council to establish a special day for the initiative. This recognition opened doors for the partnership between the church and other religious entities, private companies and civil society, in order to bring awareness on the topic.
Seventh-day Adventists also mobilized and impacted the community through rallies, procession of vehicles, distribution of printed materials, and health expos. Those who wandered around the squares and parks of the city of Curitiba, Paraná, received educational materials to prevent suicide. In Espírito Santo, more than 50,000 Seventh-day Adventists mobilized in awareness-raising activities.
In Jacareí, in the state of São Paulo, more than a thousand people went to the streets. Among them were Pathfinders, Adventurers, and Adventist Education students. Several school units also received Breaking the Silence materials and resources. In Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Seventh-day Adventist School students from the city visited the Laurel Muller State Elementary School to talk about valuing life with friends.
In Paraguay, Adventists walked the streets in rallies to hand out the official magazine for the project. In addition to public acts, series of lectures were held in schools in the country, with the purpose of preventing the act of suicide. Because of one of these lectures, Aldo Gonzales Ruiz was baptized after being touched by the project Breaking the Silence.
Body in movement
Those attending health expos organized by Seventh-day Adventists learn about the eight natural remedies based on a healthy lifestyle, promoting longevity. One is physical exercise, which is also on the list of actions to combat depression. In Manaus, in the state of Amazonas, more than 4,000 people participated in the Breaking the Silence Race, which was attended by marathon runner, Olympic medalist and race sponsor, Vanderlei Cordeiro.
Contributed by Marli Peyerl, women’s ministries director for South American Division
Published in Mosaic 2018 Q4, Fall issue
read more about Suicide by Seventh-day Adventist authors