About this Project

Suicide & Faith: Efforts to understand and support suicide prevention in faith organizations

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in persons aged 25-34, the 3rd leading cause of death among people in the age groups 10-14 and 15-24, and the 8th leading cause of male deaths.

Faith leaders and clergy have been identified as important front-line gatekeepers for suicide prevention. Yet they are often report being underprepared to handle faith members who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Recognizing, assessing, and responding to risk can be very difficult. Unfortunately, there really is very little research about this area and few educational resources or support tools.

So, that is what we are investigating. Supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Mental Health, a part of the National Institutes of Health, we are developing courses and support tools to help faith leaders address suicide within their faith organizations.

Ongoing Efforts

We are currently in a pilot phase of the effort. We are conducting research to better understand what roles, responsibilities, and barriers faith leaders perceive for themselves in relation to addressing suicide within their organizations. We are also trying to understand the types of tools and resources that would help better address suicide. Case videos and pilot educational modules are also in the works. Although the research is gathering information about diverse faiths, the initial pilot work is within the christian denominations. Later stages will examine tailoring and/or creating new modules and media to be more responsive to different faiths.

Initial Presentations and Publications

Some of our initial findings and efforts have been presented at national conferences, including:

Faith Leaders’ Perceptions Regarding Suicide Prevention:
Roles, Responsibilities, and Opportunities
Authors: Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD, Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN et al

Summary: Faith leaders are an important component of national suicide prevention strategies; however, little is known about faith leaders’ experiences with and attitudes toward suicide prevention practice. More…

Caucus on Public Health and the Faith Community

View a PDF of the Paper

Formative development of web-based suicide prevention training resources for faith leaders.Authors: Richard Goldsworthy, MSEd, PhD, Academic Edge, Inc., Bloomington, IN et al

Summary: Suicide is a leading cause of death in persons aged 10-34 and among males. National strategic public health documents identify faith leaders as key suicide first responders. However, few information and training resources are readily available to facilitate adoption of suicide-related risk reduction and mitigation behaviors among faith leaders. This project targeted this gap by creating a suicide prevention portal and Flash-based web course tailored specifically for faith leaders. More…

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

View a PDF of the Poster


Who We Are

Academic Edge, Inc. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center Indiana Violence Prevention Partnership

Chris and Jennifer Gandin Le, of Emotion Technology, have provided important assistance to aspects of the development effort. We are above all also indebted to our panel of advisors and other outside consultants, including:

Contact Us

For more information about this project, or to participate in development or evaluation activities, please contact us. We have stuff to share, appreciate any and all voices, and look forward to hearing from you.