Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

4.1.3 It’s Possible to Help in Time!

When assessing risk it is important to recognize the three stages of suicidal ideation

  1. Imagining oneself dead
  2. Imagining harming oneself
  3. Imagining the details of the carrying out the plan

Experiences from the practice of being a Pastor:

Expressions of guilt 

  1. Buying extravagant bouquets and donating large amounts of money
  2. Be sure to verbalize guilt and forgiveness in the service! 

Unfair: Exerting power through the suicide note, e.g. by blaming neighbors

Unfair: “laying the body in front of the bathroom door for your spouse” (Max Frisch)

Important: Do not let yourself get dragged down. For example, even lifeguards are taught how to free themselves from drowning swimmers if they are at risk of drowning too. 


Tragic: Suicidal tendencies of adolescents: “maladie d’amour.” These must be taken VERY seriously. 


  1. Recognize the signs. Almost all people who intend to commit suicide send some sort of signals beforehand. However, be aware that suicide threats may be manipulative. 
  2. Open the pressure valves – verbalizing aggressions (I’ve had enough!). When leading these conversations, react to emotions not to content. Use the mirroring tactics discussed in Pastoral Counseling! 
  3. Open a perspective on the future. Sometimes this might be about very simple topics such as renting out an apartment. 

As a side note: the suicide rate is lower among confessing Christians.