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Northern Ireland clergy receive help to support families bereaved by suicide

by Aaron James

The booklet, which will be sent to 1,400 Northern Ireland clergy members, deals with issues like how to prepare services, which Bible readings and songs to use, and how to support and pray for families where a loved one has ended their life.

It coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day, and was joint effort between Northern Ireland churches and the Public Health Authority (PHA).

Reverend Mervyn Ewing from the Methodist Church in Ireland told the BBC the new is booklet: "a very reassuring resource for clergy.

"For many clergy, providing pastoral support to families affected by suicide can be very disconcerting and perplexing; this resource helps reassure clergy, allay fears and provides some very useful and practical advice," he added.

Jo Murphy, from support organisation Lighthouse Ireland, also told the broadcaster: "Suicide is such a big concern in our communities.

"Churches play a pivotal role in supporting people who have been bereaved by suicide."

"This resource has been developed with the churches to encourage clergy to talk about mental health and encourage people to reach out and seek help."

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