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What should I be aware of when it comes to faith and suicide prevention?


To think about faith in the context of suicide prevention is to recognise that the relationship between faith, mental health and suicide can be complex.

Resources for prevention and challenges.

Research and engagement suggest that faith can possess both protective resources or assets for suicide prevention (things like community and belonging, care and compassion and frameworks for understanding suffering), and challenging factors which might make conversations about suicide prevention and postvention difficult.

Assets are the physical and non-physical resources or characteristics which help faith groups serve their communities. Such as: buildings and spaces, volunteer power, an ethos of care and service, and trust.

The things which help can also hinder.

These factors – resources and challenges – are not mutually exclusive, but co-exist in a matrix of theology, language, culture and lived experience. In fact, the very things which can be protective in some instances may pose a challenge in others.

For one person, a supportive faith community may be exactly what they need to help navigate life challenges; for another, the close-knit nature of some faith communities, and stigma surrounding suicide, might prompt them to withdraw for fear of being exposed.


Faith will have an impact.

If faith forms a part of someone’s current lived experience, culture or past, it will most likely impact on their mental health journey in one way or another.


Complexity and impact are not reasons to avoid conversations about faith...

…but invitations to take a personalised approach and explore what resources and challenges may be present within an individual’s context.

Better to listen.

Avoiding the subject will not avoid the challenge: it’s better to listen, identify existing resources and assets, and signpost to helpful additional support where needed. This guide is designed to assist in this process.

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