Clerical prevention of suicidal behaviour

Clerical prevention of suicidal behaviour among vulnerable groups



A former study has shown that the clergy is the profession with the least knowledge of suicidal behaviour, the profession that feels most insecure when dealing with suicidal persons, and the profession that most wants to be better at handling and preventing suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour.


Due to their work as ministers, pastors, and chaplains, the clergy are often in close contact with those persons at risk of suicidal behaviour. Adolescents, the elderly, bereaved, veteran soldiers, prisoners, and those affected by mental or physical illness are at particular risk of suicidal behaviour.

Step one is updating the existing knowledge of the clergy’s attitude towards suicidal behaviour. Results and the ethical considerations will be incorporated in the educational course and the continued professional training, as well as in the pastoral care, conversations with persons in various life situations, and the collegial supervision.

Ethical problems

There are multiple ethical problems associated with suicidal behaviour; among these the right to die vs. the duty to live, the notion of sin, guilt, and shame. The project contributes to the debate over the ethical problems concerning suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviour among bishops, deans, and ministers.


Questionnaire survey and interview study.


Completed March 2017 with report and teaching material for future clergy.

Financial support

The project is financed by the VELUX FOUNDATION.

The VELUX FOUNDATION is a non-profit foundation established in 1981 by Villum Kann Rasmussen, the founder of the VELUX Group and other business enterprises in the VKR Group. In 2013 the VELUX FOUNDATION donated 240 million DKr to various general purposes.

This page was last updated at 03/14/2017