Clergy & Faith communities

After a suicide clergy are called upon to be healers, educators, and role models, and may even find themselves functioning as quasi-clinicians. At the same time, suicide raises complex questions for faith communities: 


  • Are we supposed to handle the funeral and burial differently from other deaths? 

  • What is my faith tradition’s current view of suicide? 

  • How can we safely eulogize a teenager without risking contagion? 


I have extensive experience training faith leaders and spiritual care providers, including for the Veterans Administration’s National Chaplain Training Center, the U.S. Army Chaplain Center and School, the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis. 


I also developed “What Congregational Leaders Need to Know About Mental Illness,” the nation’s first-ever program on the neuroscience underlying mental illness. and have delivered programs for young people and parents around mental health


I can help clergy and faith communities address the questions, emotions, concerns, and fears that inevitably arise around suicide, through:


  • consultation with clergy and other congregational leadership on sermons, memorial services, and crisis support

  • training for faith leaders and spiritual care providers; and

  • educational discussion forums and sharing sessions for community members, including teens and parent


I can help.  Contact me, and we'll take it from there.


"The Focus on Mental Health conference began a crucial initiative to engage faith communities in the holy work of supporting people in their darkest and most despairing moments. It informed all of us how to help in productive and compassionate ways and addressed and allayed fears that may prevent us - even subconsciously - from reaching out to those who may be suffering alone. It was most important in allowing us to grow as caring communities."


"Your workshop for congregational leaders helped me lay the groundwork for my sermon on mental health. The mixture of facts, therapeutic approaches, and text not only provided the raw material I needed, but helped expand my personal and professional perspective. The one-on-one assistance that you gave me during my sermon preparation helped to ensure that my message would resonate with the widest possible audience, especially those whose lives are touched by mental illness."


"The work you do is a blessing."

click below to read

Six Things Every Spiritual Care Provider Should Know About Suicide

Contact Me


Coping After Suicide

45 w 54th street, suite 3c

New York, NY 10019



As Listed In


Coping After Suicide, LLC (and Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil., JD, President) serve solely as a suicide bereavement and postvention advisor/coach and are not licensed mental health professionals. Advice provided is not intended to constitute therapy or mental health counseling, and shall not be so construed.  Responsibility for seeking psychological counseling and/or medical advice rests solely with the user. Coping After Suicide, LLC and Joanne L. Harpel, President, are not governed by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  


If at any time you are in crisis and/or feeling suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  800-273-TALK or 911, text “HELP” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go the nearest emergency room.

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