Resources for congregations

​Sitting in the shadow of suicide is not a comfortable place to be. Understanding the turmoil and grief a family goes through after a loved one dies by suicide is not easy, but it is an important task for the faith community. I have lived in the shadow of suicide for many years with a sister who has attempted to take her life many times. This shadow brings many questions. Where is God? How do I pray for my sister, for myself? I think to myself, "How can you keep doing this to your family?"

--Crystal Horning
From Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide
Introduction to the study guide

Resources for faith communities

Facing Suicide in the Family and in the Church
An introduction to understanding and responding to suicide by Crystal Horning 

Warning signs that a person is suicidal. From Pathways to Promise, an interfaith resource for mental health ministry.

Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Response Video Series, for pastors and other faith community leaders. YouTube videos prepared by the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.

  1. Warning Signs and Risk Factors for Suicide. 8 min. Related handout.
  2. How to Tell if a Person is Considering Suicide. 8 min.
  3. Responding to a Suicidal Person. 11 min.
  4. Aftermath: Responding to Family Members after a Suicide. 8 min.
  5. Aftermath: Designing a Service for a Person Who Has Died by Suicide. 9 min.

Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide. DVD produced by MennoMedia. Five loving and courageous families take you to the innermost depths of their heartbreak and pain to bring hope and healing to others dealing with the numbing aftereffects of suicide. Additional families, individuals, mental health experts, Bible scholars and theologians add their experiences and insights in dealing with the issue of suicide. The documentary is a groundbreaking look at the role of faith and suicide: where is my loved one now? Can they be forgiven? How I can still have faith and go on? 44 minute video plus two hours of bonus content.

Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of SuicideBook by G. Lloyd Carr and Gwendolyn Carr is a penetrating account of a family dealing with suicide, and offers solid guidance for those who worry about the eternal fate of a loved one. It provides a reliable and readable summary of Christian thinking about suicide, useful for pastors, counselors, students, and teachers. Published by MennoMedia.​

Suicide and Depression Awareness Guidebook. This online guide is intended to help those who are suffering or have suffered from depression, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts. It is also designed for concerned friends and family members who might be worried that someone they love will commit suicide. 

After a Suicide: Recommendations for Religious Services and Other Public Memorial Observances. ​From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center​​​​.

Additional resources for coping with suicide compiled by Mental Health Ministries.

 Learn more

    • Ideas for working together in the congregation to create an environment that supports success for children and youth with mental health challenges
    • Learn more about depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental health disorders.
    • Setting healthy boundaries enables us to persist in sharing Christ's love through difficult circumstances.
    • Resources on planning a congregational mental health education series.
    • Learn about understanding and supporting people who live with various mental illnesses
    • Resources for congregations on understanding and supporting trauma healing.
    • Learn about preventing suicide and responding with caring after a suicide has occurred.

 Related resources

 Opening doors