Mental Health Ministries

Suicide Resources

Videos, DVDs & Websites | Guidebooks and Helpful Resources | Books
Bulletin Inserts, Brochures, Liturgies | Articles


Videos, DVDs & Websites

Stories of Healing and Hope: PTSD, Trauma and Suicide

By Mental Health Ministries

Stories of Healing and Hope: PTSD, Trauma and SuicideThe Mental Health Ministries DVD, Stories of Healing and Hope: PTSD, Trauma and Suicide, includes three shows: Out of the Ashes: Transforming Trauma, PTSD: Healing and Hope and Suicide and Healing After the Death of a Loved One. The show, Suicide: Healing After the Death of a Loved One features an inspirational couple who lost their son to suicide. They share the story of how their faith community supported them and how they have used their painful experience to reach out to others. This DVD is available on the Mental Health Ministries website. Click here to see a flyer with details on this resource and information on how to order.

Teenage Depression and Suicide Video

By Mental Health Ministries

Mental Illness and Families of FaithAccording to some studies, depression afflicts between 6% and 12% of American high school students. Depression in children and adolescents is easily missed unless parents, teachers, and medical personnel recognize its signs and symptoms. Without the ability to recognize these symptoms, the first inkling a parent may have of the severity of a child's illness is the tragedy of a completed suicide. Families and professionals review symptoms and recommend appropriate actions to take when it is suspected that a child or adolescent is at risk. The full show is available on the Mental Health Ministries DVD set, Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond. A short clip excerpted from the complete show is on You Tube.

Suicide Prevention and Response Video Series

By Interfaith Network on Mental Illness: Caring Clergy Project

Caring Clergy ProjectThis series of short videos, produced by Interfaith Network on Mental Illness (INMI) Caring Clergy Project, is written specifically for clergy and staff of faith communities. Learn how to recognize risk factors and warning signs of suicide, how to tell if a person is considering suicide and how to respond if you discover they are. You'll also learn how to respond to families after a suicide and how to plan a memorial service for someone who has died by suicide. View these videos on You Tube on the Caring Clergy Project website.

Video 1: Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Suicide

In this video, we discuss the warning signs and risk factors for suicide that you, as a member of the clergy, may notice in congregants who come to you for counseling.

Video 2: How to Tell if a Person is Considering Suicide

In this video, we talk about how you ask someone if they are having thoughts of suicide.

Video 3: Responding to a Suicidal Person

In this video, we will talk about how to intervene with a suicidal person with CARE, steps to take when the individual needs help beyond what you alone can provide and some basic do’s and don’t’s. We will also offers tips on how to offer spiritual resources.

Video 4: Aftermath: Responding to Family Members After a Suicide

In this video we will discuss the grief experience of family members of a person who has died by suicide and offers some do’s and don’t’s for reaching out to them. We’ll also talk briefly about appropriate language to use when discussing suicides.

Video 5: Aftermath: Designing a Service for a Person Who Has Died by Suicide

This video offers some ideas for designing a funeral or memorial service for someone who has died by suicide. It also includes a list of do’s and don’t’s for reducing the chance of suicide contagion. A memorial service, no matter how the person died, should be a time for healing and remembrance. It is not a time for judging.

Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide Documentary

By Mennonite Media

Fierce GoodbyeFierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide is a documentary produced by Mennonite Media in 2004, In this video, family members reveal their intimate stories and aching pain to assist other survivors to help the broader community understand the unique and terrible grief of suicide. This documentary explores Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Greek Orthodox responses to suicide. Judy Collins is the narrator and Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison is one of the persons interviewed. There is a study guide and other helps for faith leaders available.

What Faith Communities Can Do to Help Prevent Suicide

By the Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry & Sherry Bryant

The Lutheran Suicide Prevention Ministry and Sherry Bryant have produced an informative video that can be a good discussion starter on what faith communities can do to prevent suicide. This video is interfaith and includes interviews with five leading suicide prevention scientists. It also gives ideas on what congregations can do to educate about mental illness by promoting connectedness and offering hope. The host, Jerry Pantelakis, talks about the journey of suicide being a spiritual journey of loss of hope and meaning. (View on YouTube)

Resources for Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention

By the Mental Health Taskforce of the Christian Reformed Church in America

Resources for Suicide PreventionThe Mental Health Taskforce of the Christian Reformed Church in America has put together a reference guide with links to information on suicide and suicide prevention.  One section from the Mental Health Commission of Canada gives suggestions on the language we use regarding suicide.  Pastoral sensitivity extends to using careful and thoughtful language when we talk about suicide. Some words and phrases can bring additional pain and further stigmatize people in tragic circumstances. This increases the shame, secrecy, and isolation people experience, and makes it even more difficult for people affected by suicide to reach out for help.  Compassionate language includes…

  • Death by suicide or died by suicide are preferred phrases that can offer comfort and provide support for healing.
  • Committed suicide and completed suicide imply a negative judgment or a criminal offence, while successful suicide implies accomplishment.
  • Suicide survivor can refer to those who have experienced their own suicidality or those who are bereaved by suicide.
  • Some survivors prefer the terms suicide attempt survivor, survivor of suicide loss or survivor bereaved by suicide


Guidebooks and Helpful Resources

Resources on Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention: Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

By the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Resources on Faith Communities and Suicide PreventionFaith communities are a natural setting for suicide prevention. Spiritual beliefs and practices tend to help people experience greater hope and meaning in their lives. Faith communities can also provide opportunities for developing positive relationships with others and can be an important source of support during difficult times.  They can offer counseling and other support as people with mental health problems, including suicide risk, often turn to faith community leaders for help.  For a wide variety of resources, articles, books and videos, visit their website.

The Role of Faith Communities in Suicide Prevention: A Guidebook for Faith Leaders

By the Carson J Spencer Foundation

(PDF, English | @ Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

The Role of Faith Communities in Suicide Prevention: A Guidebook for Faith LeadersThe purpose of this guidebook is to prepare leaders of faith communities to prevent, intervene and respond to the tragedy of suicide. The concept for this guidebook grew out of an increasing understanding that suicide affects a significant number of people in all walks of life and that people often turn to their faith communities in times of crisis. Knowing how to respond in the moment of a suicidal crisis can be an anxiety-provoking experience. We hope to provide a guide to help alleviate this anxiety by providing knowledge, preparation and support within the context of a community. The Role of Faith Communities in Suicide Prevention: A Guidebook for Faith Leaders is a product of a publication of the Carson J Spencer Foundation with support from Regis University and Jefferson Unitarian Church. The authors give permission for appendices at the end of the book to be copied and used freely by the readers in their faith community settings.

Muslim Resource Guide: Suicide Prevention

By the Family and Youth Institute

(PDF, English | @ Family and Youth Institute)

Suicide PreventionDue to the Muslim community’s stigma around mental health, there is a lack of Muslim-specific research. To help educate imams (and other faith leaders), teachers and parents, The Muslim Mental Health website offers excellent resource on Suicide Prevention. 

“Whoever saves one life, it is written as if they have saved all of humanity.”
[Qur’an 5:32]

Resource Guide: After Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools

By the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

(PDF, English | @ SPRC)

After Suicide: A Toolkit for SchoolsA student suicide has a tremendous impact on the entire school as well as the broader community. School administrators, faculty, and staff are called on to provide leadership and strength to students and their families, even though they themselves may be shaken emotionally and unsure of the proper actions to take. They will be grappling with issues such as immediate crisis response, helping students and parents cope, and communicating with the school and wider community, as well as the media. After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, is a valuable guide to help school personnel prepare for the tumultuous and stressful aftermath of a student suicide and to help prevent future tragedies. 

The Role of Faith Communities in Preventing Suicide: The Role of Faith Communities in Preventing Suicide

By the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

(PDF, English | @ Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

The Role of Faith Communities in Preventing SuicideThe Role of Faith Communities in Preventing Suicide: A Report of an Interfaith Suicide Prevention Dialogue is the report from the Interfaith Suicide Prevention Dialogue convened by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center in 2008. It contains ideas for engaging faith communities in suicide prevention and developing interfaith suicide prevention initiatives, as well as the perspectives on suicide of five major religions practiced in the United States…Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. The report addresses the common themes among these religions. The section on Christianity looks specifically at The Black Christian Church, the Catholic Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The United Methodist Church.

Understanding Your Role as a Faith Community Leader in Suicide Prevention

By the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

(PDF, English | @ Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

Understanding Your Role as a Faith Community Leader in Suicide PreventionWe know that faith communities can be a valuable resource in helping to increase public awareness about suicide and how to reduce the number of persons who take their life each year. This PDF file, from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), provides helpful resources and other information to address suicide prevention as a faith community leader.

After Suicide: Recommendations for Religious Services and Other Public Memorial Services

By the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

(PDF, English | @ Suicide Prevention Resources Center)

After a SuicideThis brief guide was created by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center to aid faith community leaders and other community leaders. It provides background information, suggests ways to care for and support survivors, and offers recommendations for planning a memorial observance.

Lutheran Suicide Prevention

(@ Lutheran Suicide Prevention)

Lutheran Suicide PreventionThis Ministry was organized to answer all these questions and to be an "e-resource" for anyone who is feeling suicidal, anyone who has lost someone to suicide, and to communities and faith-based congregations who want to educate their members on risks of suicide, how to help, and how to support those with mental health issues in a caring, compassionate way.

The Role of Clergy in Preventing Suicide

(PDF, English)

Clergy and Suicide PreventionBy Strategy for Suicide Prevention

Strategy for Suicide Prevention have partnered on a valuable resource for clergy, The Role of Clergy in Preventing Suicide.  They identified the clergy as "key gatekeepers" — people who regularly come into contact with individuals or families in suicidal distress. This guide offers details about caring for such individuals and walking the fine line between spiritual support and mental health counseling.  It also has a list of helpful references and resources. 

Faith.Hope.Life. Campaign

(PDF, English | @ Action Alliance)

Faith.Hope.Life.By the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Faith.Hope.Life. is an opportunity for every faith community in the United States, regardless of creed, to focus one Sabbath each year on the characteristics common to most faiths that also help prevent suicides. Their resources offer very practical ways faith leaders and faith communities can help prevent suicides, whether locally, state-wide, or nationally.

Suicide Prevention Competencies for Faith Leaders: Supporting Life Before, During and After a Suicidal Crisis

By the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Competencies for Faith Leaders: Supporting Life Before, During and After a Suicidal CrisisResearch shows that people in suicidal crises are increasingly turning to faith leaders for help and support. This resource, informed by faith community leaders and suicide prevention experts, aims to help equip faith leaders with the capabilities needed to prevent suicide and provide care and comfort for those affected by suicide.



A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression

Depression and related illnesses threaten to wreck the lives of many teens and their families. Suicide driven by these illnesses is one of the top killers of young people. How do teens become depressed? What does depression feel like? How can we identify it? What helps depressed teens? What hurts them? How do families cope with teen depression?

Relentless HopeIn A Relentless Hope, Dr. Gary Nelson uses his experience as a pastor and pastoral counselor to guide the reader through an exploration of these and many other questions about depression in teens. He's worked with many teens over the years offering help to those confronted by this potentially devastating illness. The author also uses the story of his own son's journey through depression to weave together insights into the spiritual, emotional, cognitive, biological, and relational dimensions of teen depression. The book is written for those without formal clinical training, so it appeals to teens, parents, teachers, pastors, and any who walk with the afflicted through this valley of the shadow of death. Through careful analysis, candid self-revelation, practical advice, and even humor, this pastor, counselor, and father, reminds us God's light of healing can shine through the darkness of depression and offer hope for struggling teens and their families.

Suicide Pastoral Responses

Suicide: Pastoral ResponsesThis book provides information and case examples on assessing suicide risk, dealing with suicidal behavioral and attempts, and responding to suicide deaths. It is most useful for faith community leaders who have training and experience in mental health counseling. This book is available on Amazon.

The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention

The LifeSaving ChurchIs your church prepared to save lives? Every year, millions of people engage in suicidal activity, yet the Church remains largely silent around mental health and suicide prevention. Pastor and suicide survivor Rachael Keefe shares her own personal story of lifelong depression, eating disorders, and suicidality to equip congregations to recognize and respond to those suffering silently in the pew. Memoir, theological reflection, and action guide combined, each chapter concludes with a "What Your Congregation Can Do Now" section to get you started building a community of abundant life for all.

A video with more information about the book is available on YouTube.

A study guide to accompany the book is available here.

Book available at Chalice Press.

Second Day: A Hopeful Journey Out of Suicidal Thinking

Second Day: A Hopeful Journey Out of Suicidal ThinkingIn the aftermath of three suicides in his community over a relatively short period, Fe Anam Avis co-founded the Community Response Team and discovered his life's purpose in the area of suicide prevention. In A SECOND DAY: A HOPEFUL JOURNEY OUT OF SUICIDAL THINKING the author asserts that suicide is a community problem that can only be addressed by the community. "A central theme of this book that threads through every chapter is that suicidal thinking is often a response to a benighted Soul, struggling to find authentic expression in communities that are hostile or indifferent to its existence. The Soul has a voice that will not be denied and a wisdom that is sound. As we begin to give dignity to that wisdom, we can redirect the suicidal impulse to its more constructive purpose: transformation." This book is available on Amazon.


Brochures/Bulletin Inserts/Liturgies

Suicide: How Faith Communities Can Provide Hope and Promote Healing

By Mental Health Ministries

(PDF, English | PDF, Spanish)

Suicide: How Faith Communities Can Provide Hope and Promote HealingMore than 36,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. It is this country's 10th leading cause of death, and is often characterized as a response to a single event or set of circumstances. However, unlike these popular conceptions, suicide is a much more involved phenomenon. The factors that contribute to any particular suicide are diverse and complex, so our efforts to understand it must incorporate many approaches. Faith communities need to talk openly about suicide and provide education about mental illness being a treatable illness instead of a moral or spiritual shortcoming.

Litanies and Prayers for Suicide Prevention Week

By Cindy Holtrop, Secretary, Pathways to Promise

(PDF, English)

Litanies and Prayers for Suicide Prevention WeekThis document includes a Prayer Litany, a Prayer Litany for Suicide Prevention Week, a Blessing to bring comfort and the strong reassurance to not be afraid when life is so uncertain, and a Prayer for Someone Contemplating Suicide.

Your Life Matters! To Others...To This World...To God

By Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

(PDF, English)

Your Life MattersEvery life matters in God’s kingdom, from the youngest to the oldest, the weakest to the strongest, the infirmed to the healthy. This week, we celebrate the fact that Your life matters!, every day, regardless of how you feel at the moment.

Your Life Matters Campaign

By Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

(Visit Website)

Your Life MattersThe Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention “Your Life Matters” campaign has put together a comprehensive website for faith leaders from different traditions for use during National Suicide Prevention Month. But the worship and spiritual resources on the website can be used at any time throughout the year including after a suicide or suicide attempt. The worship and spiritual resources offered promote the themes of life, hope, reasons for living, and connectedness, which are central to the campaign and to preventing suicide.



Article – 6 Questions You Can Ask a Loved One to Help Screen for Suicide Risk

By The Conversation

6 Questions You Can Ask a Loved One to Help Screen for Suicide RiskOur society is now aware that we are facing a national epidemic. The challenge is to identify and serve individuals who are at risk of attempting and completing suicide before that tragic outcome.

Article – Why You Should Stop Saying "Committed Suicide"

By Lindsay Holmes, HuffPost

Your words matter, especially when it comes to mental health. One phrase that you may not be aware is particularly egregious? “Committed suicide.” It’s an expression that many people still lean on, both in the news (take one look at headlines after the recent deaths by suicide of Parkland, Florida, students and the father of a Sandy Hook shooting victim) and in outside conversations. While the term may seem innocuous, it’s actually laden with blame and stigma. So much so that reporting guidelines outlined by mental health and media organizations strictly advise against using it. “The term ‘committed suicide’ is damaging because for many, if not most, people it evokes associations with ‘committed a crime’ or ‘committed a sin’ and makes us think about something morally reprehensible or illegal,” said Jacek Debiec, an assistant professor in the University of Michigan’s department of psychiatry who specializes in post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders.

Article – Talking About Teens, Technology and Suicide

By The National Action Alliance

Talking About Teens, Technology and SuicideStudents are heading back to school, and with that comes the everyday stress and social and academic pressures that for some can spiral into crisis. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates suicide is the third-leading cause of death among youth ages 10–24, and 17 percent of US high school students report they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. In a digitally connected world — where, according to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens go online daily and 72 percent report they spend time with friends on social media — it has become critically important to devise suicide prevention tools and resources that can reach youth where they socialize: online. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention convened a panel of leading suicide experts, youth influencers, and people with firsthand experience with suicide to discuss how social media is being used to reach teens in crisis.

Blog – I Love Jesus But I Want to Die: What You Need to Know About Suicide

By Sarah of Beautiful Between

I Love Jesus But I Want to DieThis blog from a Christian perspective is written by Sarah.  It shares what it FEELS like to want to end your life and how many Christians view suicide as a sin or that they are not spiritual enough.  She writes, “The lie that those walking closely with God don’t ever have suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues is dangerous because it wrongly casts these issues as sin. If we believe depression and dark thoughts are sinful, we’re more likely to feel ashamed and expect God to deal sternly with us. But the truth is he’s good and gracious, not waiting to punish us for our struggles.  Depression and suicidal thoughts don’t care about how spiritual we are. I’m sure plenty of devout believers and faithful leaders wish it did. I do.”