Dr. Mason Reports on Suicide Stigma and Prevention in the Church

Dr. Karen Mason, Professor of Counseling and Psychology and Director of the Hamilton Counseling Department, recently published three articles to help equip church leaders in preventing suicide and addressing suicide stigma in Christian faith communities. With the increase of lives lost to suicide in the U.S., she affirms that “faith communities have a unique contribution to make to suicide prevention and address[ing] cultural/systemic issues.”

In Religions, Dr. Mason published “Suicide Stigma in Christian Faith Communities: A Qualitative Study” and “Psychometric Properties of the Clergy Suicide Prevention Competencies Developmental Rubric and Faith Leaders’ Readiness to Address Suicide Stigma.” In these articles, she focuses on how Christian leaders and communities can protect against suicide by providing care that overcomes various barriers and stigma surrounding suicide.

In “Clergy as Suicide Prevention Gatekeepers,” her article in the Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling (JPC&C), Dr. Mason and her co-authors share that “suicidal people seeking treatment were as likely to contact clergy as other providers.” They report on the experiences of Catholic, Jewish and Protestant clergy in assisting individuals struggling with suicide, and they identify the need for more training, especially in working with those who are at low and medium risk.

To read more from Dr. Mason on suicide prevention, please visit our blog, and pick up your copy of her book Preaching Hope in Darkness: Help for Pastors in Addressing Suicide from the Pulpit.