The suicide of someone in your church can be a devastating event. It can create feelings of stigma, shame, and unwarranted guilt for those close to the person who has died. This kind of loss may also increase the suicide risk for individuals who are already vulnerable.
Theological understandings of the morality of suicide should not be a barrier to providing compassionate pastoral care to bereaved families. It is important to reach out and support those who are grieving a suicide loss. Everyone in your church, both leaders and members, can be an important source of support, comfort, and acceptance during this difficult time. It is also important that you seek appropriate support for yourself.
The main priority after a suicide is to support those affected to express their grief and to mourn, and to prevent more suicides from happening. It is important to keep to normal routines and activities but not to hide or deny the fact that a death by suicide has happened. Sticking to a normal routine often provides a sense of structure and purpose to those affected by the death.Continue to next page