Churches have ‘vital role’ in suicide prevention – McGuinness

NI Deputy First Minister addressed an Irish Churches Peace Project conference

NI Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness told a conference in Derry last week that Churches have a “vital role” in helping to prevent suicide and providing pastoral care for families affected by suicide.

Speaking to over 70 delegates at Suicide Prevention and Pastoral Care, a special event for clergy and people in leadership roles within Churches, Mr McGuinness said preventing the tragic loss of life needed co-operation “across government and across all sections of society, including Churches, faith groups, the private and community sector as well as with those affected by suicide”.

The event was organised by the Irish Churches Peace Project (ICPP), an initiative of the Methodist, Catholic and Presbyterian Churches, the Church of Ireland and the Irish Council of Churches.

Pastoral care

The aim of the event was to equip clergy and people in leadership roles within Churches to sensitively deal with suicide prevention and pastoral care.

Bishop Donal McKeown, ICCP chair, said the event was organised because “the tragedy of suicide has been highlighted as a priority concern”.

“All those who are feeling suicidal or experiencing mental health problems need to know that there is a wide range of resources available to them in their local community, and Churches have a particular responsibility to show leadership and get that message out,” he said.