More dates

When Suicide Comes to Church: Pastoral care approaches in working with suicidal people and those bereaved by suicide - Hawkes Bay

Price $175 NZD + GST Register

Event description

Training Series Description 

This faith communities focused suicide prevention training consists of: 

  • one day in-person workshop 
  • 2 x two-hour online webinars 

It is specifically designed for those who provide pastoral ministries such as clergy, chaplains, lay preachers, youth ministers, and pastoral care workers.  

An opportunity for participants to: 

  • reflect on suicide from their faith perspective 
  • identify how faith and spirituality can contribute to positive mental wellbeing of those they minister to 
  • address mental illness, trauma and suicidality in their pastoral care work
  • depth their understanding of how funeral rites impact on suicide contagion and grief process of those bereaved by suicide

Training Rationale

The impact of suicide on family and communities including faith communities can be devastating. So how do faith communities respond when suicide comes to church. This response is not only in providing pastoral care to those bereaved by suicide but also to those experiencing mental illness, psychological distress, trauma or suicidality. 

Studies have shown the 85% of clergy know that helping people in a suicide crisis is part of their responsibility, but they don’t know what to do. When faced with engaging with someone they are worried about, it is essential that faith leaders ensure that their pastoral counselling skills includes knowledge and skills to identify someone in an emerging suicide crisis and to competently respond to the crisis.

From a suicide prevention standpoint, faith communities can foster compassion and support for people who are experiencing hardship, and can use theological reflection to help people make meaning, especially understanding of suffering and despair.

Faith community leaders are often first responders after a suicide death. How they support a highly traumatised and confused family through their grief journey or conduct a funeral service can have an enduring impact on the recovery of those bereaved. While many families experience compassionate and supportive pastoral care, others have a sense of compounded shame and guilt resulting in experiencing additional layers of unresolved grief because of how faith leaders have spoken about the suicide.

Workshop Description

The primary focus of the workshop is to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of:

  • latest research and considered thinking about the phenomenon of suicide
  • the thought process of the suicidal person leading up to and at the moment of suicide
  • the underlying reasons and situations that precipitate suicide
  • risk and protective factors in suicide
  • how to engage and support a suicidal person.

All the topics covered will be approached from the perspective of ministry and pastoral care contexts. Boundaries between pastoral care and counselling approaches and discerning if the person would benefit from professional care by a therapist or mental health clinician will also be discussed.

By having a depth of understanding about suicide, insights about the suffering and despair of the suicidal person, and the impact of suicide on those bereaved, those in ministry will be better equipped to accompany suicidal people or those bereaved by suicide through prayer, discernment and pastoral care. The implications and impact of past and current theological and dogmatic teachings on suicide needs to be taken into consideration. Suicide is not value free and has religious, moral and ethical dimensions. Throughout the day participants will be encouraged to reflect on these dimension and their personal values and faith beliefs about suicide.

The sensitive issue of suicide among victims of institutional or clergy abuse and its impact of families and faith communities will also be covered.

Faith and spirituality contributes to a person's wellbeing and faith community can play an important role in promoting positive wellbeing of it's members. Embracing ministry to the whole person, the concept of the "well parish" be introduced. Ways that churches can contribute to community-based suicide prevention initiatives will be examined.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of suicide and the “suicidal moment”
  • Suicide risk and protective factors
  • Suicide and religion: Risk or protective?
  • Salvation or damnation: the implications of theological & dogmatic teachings about suicide on pastoral care approaches
  • Common Language: the intersection of faith and wellbeing
  • Institution and clergy abuse associated suicide
  • Working with the suicidal person in a pastoral care context


Webinar 1:  Supporting those bereaved by suicide

People bereaved by suicide experience higher levels of depression and trauma and there are  grief issues specific to suicide bereavement.  Ministry to those bereaved is enhanced from an in-depth- understanding of suicide grief and trauma and best practices in safe and effective support. Suicide can greatly strain or even shatter bereaved people’s faith and anger at God is not uncommon. Topics covered:

  • Answering the question of why?
  • Suicide related grief
  • Ministry and support for those bereaved by suicide
  • Impact of suicide on a faith community

Date:  Monday 2 September 9:30 - 11:30 am

Webinar 2: Honouring Not Glorifying

Webinar 2 focuses on conducting a funeral of someone who has died by suicide. With the increasing number of people dying by suicide, especially  young people, there is concern that symbolic actions or what is said in a tangihanga or a funeral may inadvertently glorify suicide, leading to further suicides. Those conducting suicide funerals are often faced with dilemmas, such as;  do you talk about the person's suicide; if so how should it be talked about and how much should be disclosed; what about privacy of whānau and the dead person.  Participants will have the opportunity to bring up their own questions or dilemmas for discussion as well as explore the potential tension between ensuring that the ritual or the cultural practices honour the person without glorifying the way the person died.

Topics included:

  • The role of ritual in bereavement support
  • Issues of concern in death by suicide funerals
  • Mitigating the risk of suicide contagion
  • Honouring Not Glorifying: Walking the fine line of difference 
  • Role of tangihanga or funerals in community debriefing
  • Helpful & unhelpful messages when speaking about suicide in funeral or tangihanga

    Date:  Monday 23 September: 9:30 - 11:30am

    Who should attend:
    Clergy                               Chaplains
    Church workers                Lay Preachers
    Pastoral care workers       Youth ministers
    Theology students and lecturers

    What Other Participants’ Have Said

    "The whole team who attended were impressed with the depth and breadth of the well grounded research, real life stories, and professionalism in talking about suicide.  An added bonus is that you bring a solid understanding of theology and tradition that underpins your input around funerals and other rituals.We liked your interactive approach that harvested wisdom from participants.The team took away some significant learnings"
    Diocesan Pastoral Care Coordinator

    “His practical advice along with Barry's compassionate care and concern and his understanding of pastoral care, this workshop addresses this challenging pastoral concern. Would recommend as a must attend to anyone in ministry."
    Pastoral Care Worker

    "I feel far more informed and equipped to minister to those who are grieving and those who attend funerals at my church"
    Church Pastor

    "Barry's depth of understanding of faith and spirituality made this workshop not only relevant but deeply enriched my ministry."
    Parish Priest

    “An inspiring workshop which gave me many powerful insights into those who are in pain or are grieving”


    Barry has proven leadership over 30 years at local, national and international levels in using community initiatives and strength-based approaches to improve individual and community wellbeing and the prevention of suicide. He has extensive experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of programmes at the local and national level, especially creating collaborative partnerships to prevent or respond to suicide.

    Barry will draw upon his extensive experience working with people and communities affected by suicide, his leadership in the loss and grief sector and as a funeral celebrant. He has worked in the ecumenical movement and participated in inter-faith dialogues and has an interest in the role of faith and spirituality in positive mental wellbeing and how religion can be both a risk and protective factor for suicide.

    His international experience includes being the State President of National Association for Loss & Grief (Victoria) and convenor of the Victorian Loss & Grief Practitioners Accreditation Board. He developed and delivered nationally a certificate training programme for the Australian funeral industry on loss and grief and has 26 years experience as a funeral celebrant. He has lectured at theological colleges and training programmes for funeral celebrants on the role of ritual in grief processes and the pastoral care needs of those bereaved by suicide

    He has extensive experience in suicide postvention guiding numerous communities, schools, universities, workplaces and mental health organisations through the aftermath of a suicide as well as providing support to those bereaved by suicide. He has advised governments on effective postvention strategies and provided guidance for schools in both New Zealand and Australia. 

    After a number of years overseas, Barry is living back in New Zealand, passionate about building the knowledge base, competence and capability to effectively respond to the unacceptably high rate of suicide in this country.



    Places in each workshop are limited. If the workshop is full please register your name on the waitlist. 

    Payment:  Payment is by either Visa or Mastercard.  

    Organisations can request to pay by invoice. At the payment method part of the registration process click on Change and select Pay By Invoice

    Terms for Payment By Invoice

    By selecting Pay By Invoice the organisation agrees to the following conditions:

    1.  Your place in the workshop is not confirmed until payment has been received. Payment of the invoice must be made within seven days of registering to avoid having your registration cancelled. Late payment fees apply.

    2.  A Tax Invoice from TaylorMade Training and Consulting will be sent to you separately which will contain bank details for payment.  

    3.  By registering for the workshop, you agree to the cancellation and policy. (refer below).  Organisations who cancel within seven days of the workshop and have not paid the invoice for the outstanding registration fee are still obligated to pay the outstanding debt.

    Catering: This workshop is fully catered. Please indicate in the registration process if you have any particular dietary requirements.  If you register after the registration closing date, while every effort will be made, your dietary requirements may not be able to be catered.

    Scholarships: There is a limited number of partial and full scholarships for those wishing to attend the workshop. Full scholarships are available for mental health consumers, carers and volunteers. Partial scholarships of either 25% or 50%  off the registration fee are available for full time tertiary students in health, social service and disability related courses. Further information and how to apply for a scholarship is available on the TaylorMade website.

    Cancellation and Refund Policy

    Workshops can fill quickly. If you are no longer able to attend the workshop please cancel your registration as soon as possible. The following refund policy is strictly adhered to.

    Cancellation up to seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop:  Full Refund less $30 + GST admin fee

    Cancellation within seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop: No refund but registration can be transferred to another person. To transfer your registration log on to your registration and update the name and contact details to the new person attending.

    No show on the day of workshop:   No refund

    Cancellation of Workshop by TaylorMade: TaylorMade Training and Consulting (TMTC) reserve the right to cancel the workshop if there are not the minimum number of registrations. If cancelled, participants will be offered a refund either by way of a credit to attend another TMTC workshop (within 12 months of the cancelled workshop) or full refund of their registration fee.  Refunds will made by electronic transfer into a bank account specified by the participant. TMTC accept no responsibility for any other costs incurred by participant as a result of a workshop cancellation. 

    Disclaimer:  The information provided in the workshop handout notes and at the workshops are the views of the trainer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TaylorMade Training and Consulting. The information and professional advice delivered in the workshop and the associated printed material is provided solely on the basis that before relying on this material, participants should obtain appropriate advice relevant to their particular circumstance to evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes. TaylorMade Training and Consulting will not be liable for any damages of any kind to any person or entity arising from the use of this information. Your attendance at this workshop reflects your acceptance of this statement.

    Organiser Contact Details

    Barry Taylor 

    Principal Consultant |  TaylorMade Training and Consulting

    Office:  04 280 0146                           Mobile:  022 104 5060

    Email:   Website:

    Powered by

    Tickets for good, not greed Humanitix dedicates 100% of profits from booking fees to charity