Suicide awareness training for churches

Suicide awareness training for churches

Clergy and those who work for churches across Northern Ireland are being encouraged to take part in specially tailored suicide awareness training.

Sessions are being hosted in the coming year by suicide prevention group ‘Flourish!’

Flourish! is a partnership between clergy from across the Christian churches in Northern Ireland and the suicide prevention charity Lighthouse. The initiative has the support of the leaders of the four larger churches in Ireland and has been developed in partnership with and supported by the Public Health Agency (PHA).

“Flourish! aims to support churches to develop a shared approach to addressing the needs of people affected by suicide,” said Gabrielle Rawashdeh, Senior Health and Wellbeing Improvement Officer with the PHA.

“Every day, clergy and those involved with churches provide pastoral support to help people facing life’s biggest challenges, such as death, job loss and family breakdown. Their unique role offers an opportunity to help people at risk of suicide but who may not initially seek support from mental health professionals or even family members.”

Jo Murphy, Co-ordinator at Lighthouse, said that churches can make a huge contribution to suicide prevention.

 “We hope that churches will join us at the four upcoming sessions and invite clergy, church youth workers, church lay leaders, lay pastoral workers and other church staff from all churches to attend.”

The training day includes a theology-based module and also a section on pastoral care. All sessions will be held between 9.30am and 4.30pm.

Sessions for 2017/18 will take place as follows:

  • 4 May 2017, Ballymena Methodist, Ballymena;
  • 19 September 2017, Dromantine, Newry;
  • 3 October 2017, Edgehill Theological College, Belfast;
  • 28 February 2018, Omagh Enterprise Centre, Omagh.

To register please call Lighthouse on 028 90 755070 or email

Further information on Flourish is available at