• Get In Touch

    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
    Academics Office
    130 Essex Street
    South Hamilton, MA 01982
    1 (800) 428-7329
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

A Developmental Model of Clergy Engagement with Suicide

Study Description:
The goal of this study was to identify clergy skills for engagement with suicide in faith communities in the form of a developmental rubric. The rubric was based on interviews with 19 Protestant clergy, which produced rich descriptions of their suicide prevention skill development. Since clergy have a key role in suicide prevention but report being undertrained, this study addresses this issue by providing a usable rubric for developing suicide prevention training for clergy and a clear path for the development of their skills over time. Three rubrics were developed: a comprehensive version where each stage is described using around 100 words, a brief version where each stage is described using approximately 25 words or less, and a version where only a key phrase is used to describe each stage

Thank You!

Thanks to the 19 clergy members who participated in our research endeavors during 2013 and 2014. We completed this study in December 2014 and are now working on publishing the results.

Once we have the three versions of the rubric ready to view, we will post them here, so bookmark this page and check back during the upcoming months.

For questions about the pending status of the results, feel free to email Karen Mason at kmason@gordonconwell.edu

The Facts:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. It affects Americans of all ages. Among adolescents, suicide is the third leading cause of death; among young adults, the second leading cause of death. The largest numbers of suicide deaths occur among middle-aged males; the highest rates, among older adult males. The highest rates and numbers of attempts occur among women.
  • 25% of people with mental health problems seek help from clergy. Suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts are some of the significant predictors of making contact with clergy. In fact, in one national study, suicidal people who sought treatment were as likely to contact clergy as other providers.
  • If you want more information on the role of clergy in suicide prevention in faith communities, follow this link to listen to a webinar for clergy from May 2012. Click here to download the slides
  • Click here to view valuable suicide prevention resources.

Who are the researchers?

  • Karen Mason, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Monica Geist, Ph.D., Front Range Community College
  • Mollie Clark, B.A., Byington Scholar and Graduate Research Assistant