The Role of Faith Communities in the Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention of Suicide

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jenny Cornish, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Sally Spencer-Thomas, Psy.D., MNM

Second Committee Member

Jina Jensen, Psy.D.


Faith Communities, Suicide, Suicide Intervention


Suicide is a significant public health and safety concern, claiming approximately 89.4 lives per day (McIntosh, 2008). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001) considers suicide to be preventable if education about warning signs and life-saving interventions is properly disseminated. When people are in suicidal crisis they often reach out to individuals or communities around them for help in the days or weeks preceding a suicidal crisis (American Association of Suicidology, 2007). One place where many people tum to in times of crisis is faith communities and spiritual leaders. Unfortunately the training of faith community leaders is commonly lacking in suicide prevention and intervention (Weaver & Koenig, 1996). This Doctoral Paper and accompanying Guidebook aims to prepare faith communities in dealing with suicide in three main areas: prevention, intervention and postvention as a means of reducing the number of suicide deaths.


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