Suicide Prevention and the Church

Every loss of life to suicide is tragic and leaves in its wake a tsunami of grief affecting family, friends and the wider community. And the church is not immune. People within our churches are facing mental ill health, depression and despair, while others are caring for family members who are suffering from mental and emotional anguish.

The launch of Ireland’s new strategy for suicide prevention, “Connecting for Life,” in 2015 was a call to arms for communities to work together to reduce the tragic loss of over 500 lives a year to suicide across the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, the suicide rate is close to 300 people a year.

VOX Magazine editor Ruth Garvey-Williams is a passionate campaigner for Christian engagement in this vital area. “This tragedy touches us all. So many of us have lost family members or friends to suicide. My vision is for churches to be informed, equipped, and inspired to engage effectively in suicide prevention alongside their local communities, to see lives saved and families restored, to comfort those who mourn and bind up the broken-hearted! That is why we at VOX Magazine have organised a series of one-day suicide-prevention conferences in January and February - bringing together people engaged in this vital work to help us.”


Saturday 30 January
10am - 4pm
Apostolic Church, 67a Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Keynote speakers:
Gerry Raleigh, National Office for Suicide Prevention
Joanie Reilly, Counsellor/Psychotherapist


Saturday 6 February
10am - 3pm
Grace Christian Church, 53 MacCurtain Street, Cork

Keynote speakers:
Pastor Brian Synnott, church leader and professional counsellor
Barry Condon, church leader and founder of Suaimhneas, a support group for people suffering from depression


Saturday 20 February
10am - 4pm
Calry Church, Sligo

Keynote speakers:
Dr Stephen Critchlow, Consultant Psychiatrist, speaker, and author
Joanie Reilly, Counsellor/Psychotherapist

Other speakers
Other speakers will include Stephen Bradley, Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, and Christian counsellor Linda Rowett. The programme will include opportunities for discussion, questions and practical examples of how churches around Ireland are involved in suicide prevention.

Workshops will be offered on a range of subjects (depending on venue and demand) including:

  • Supporting those bereaved by suicide
  • Understanding self harm
  • Equipped to care - listening skills
  • Working together with your community
  • Supporting a family member with chronic mental illness

What does it cost?
Each event costs just €20 per person (including lunch) with concessions available for students, the unemployed and senior citizens.

Who is it for?
These events are designed for church leaders and individual Christians who are concerned about suicide or have been affected by suicide and want to know how Christians can respond.

Note: While we recognise that an event of this nature can stir up painful memories/emotions, and we will have people available on the day who are able to talk and pray with people as needed, the conference is not designed for those who are currently experiencing distress or mental ill health. The Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline on 116 123 (ROI) or by visiting to find your nearest branch (includes Northern Ireland). You can contact a Christian counsellor by visiting and many churches can provide additional support.

How do I book?
Follow the links at the top of this page and sign up on the spot. Get further information via email ( with “Suicide Prevention Conference” in the subject line, or telephone the VOX office on 01 443 4789.