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Have you thought about it before? Suicide!

A themed evening covering the difficult and complicated subject of suicide.


The difficult and complicated subject of „suicide” is hardly ever discussed within the group. This might be due to the fact that most people are overwhelmed by dealing with such a subject. It may also be due to the fact that most people push such a subject aside, although several of them have probably though about it before, and don’t want to be confronted with the subject in their nearby environment. We may also tend to think: that doesn’t apply to the youths in my group (yet). How can we start to introduce such a subject? To be quite honest, I have not been able to find something to say about the subject on a “presentation basis” or as a “discussion topic”. The following ideas are therefore a little patchwork of ideas. Anyone who has an interesting idea (game, introductory game or suitable lyrics) is welcome to send me them by e-mail. I will then include your ideas.

Initial consideration:

  • Does the subject suit your group? (Age, experience, education, social environment). Maybe your group does not or cannot talk about such a subject.

  • Have you heard something from one of your group members on suicide before? (Fun, serious, derogatively or directly effected).

  • Is there the danger that you could upset the group by bringing up such a subject or lead them to having the wrong thoughts?

  • Have you had contact with the subject before?

  • Do you have the right level of sensitivity to introduce such a subject

  • Is there anyone you could invite to the evening? (An experienced Samaritan or someone from an advice centre for people in danger of suicide, ...)

  • How would you introduce the subject (please only view the following ideas as suggestions)?

  • Recommendation: this subject should only be tackled by youth leaders who feel that they are up to the challenge and have the right tactfulness. If the group “disrupts” the subject in any way or does not take it seriously, then simply abandon the idea.

Reading a story

A short story would serve as an introduction into the subject or after the games. You can cut articles from the newspaper which deal with suicide cases and statistics.

Examples of stories on the subject of suicide Youth and Suicide

(Intro) games and teamwork

The aim of the introductory games is to play out the different scenes or to work on one or reasons for suicide within the team.

A recommended alternative would be to begin the introductory games before the actual evening without the youths knowing what the subject is going to be. The actual introduction to the subject comes at the end of the games.

Each case is different, has different backgrounds, different triggers and motives which the different starting situations can be based on.

Possible causes might be:

  • Worries and problems which seem impossible to solve
  • Divorce
  • Disputes
  • The death of a loved one
  • Unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Alcohol, drugs or other addictions
  • Accidents or illness
  • Loneliness
  • Low self esteem
  • Senselessness and lack of perspectives
  • No value, lack of self appreciation
  • Not being understood
  • Feeling of being left alone to deal with problems
  • Feelings of guilt

Games and scenes

Game 1: Balloon trip (who should get out?)

2-3 groups of 4 persons are put together. A hot air balloon is in danger of going down. The fall can only be stopped if one person steps out. Everyone argues why they cannot step out and why another person should get out of the balloon....

  • Preparation time: 3 minutes
  • Presentation time per group: 4 minutes
  • 1st statement: it often happens in life that others think that they are better and we can suffer from low self worth. The 2nd statement is that others stick together once they have found a victim.

Game 2: We will put each other down (friends, parent and child...)

2 people try to put each other down as loudly as possible. The rest of the group members judge who was better.

  • Preparation time: none – start spontaneously
  • Presentation per team: 2 minutes
  • Statement: it is fun to put others down but it can have an effect which we cannot see. If you do want this to happen to you, do not subject it on others.

Game 3a: Bullying at school/work

Each group of 3-4 persons thinks up a bullying scene and presents it as a drama.

  • Preparation time: 3 minutes
  • Presentation per group: 4 minutes
  • Statement: ganging up against others is cowardly. Peer pressure and going along with it all without thinking can lead to us not being able to put ourselves in the shoes of others. This requires courage which not a lot of people have.

Game 3b: A relationship comes to an end (one partner has dumped the other or has a new partner)

The groups of 2-3 persons think of a scene in which a relationship comes to an end and the other partner is suffering badly. All attempts to save the relationship do not work.

  • Preparation time: 3 minutes
  • Preparation per group: 4 minutes
  • Statement: lots of suicides happen because of heartbreak when relationships break up. A person’s world falls apart and they fall into a deep hole.

Game 4: Receiving a suicide note from a friend

2 people form each team to consider the contents of a suicide note stating why, how and wishes.

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Reading time per team: 1 minute
  • Statement/aim: make thoughts about the reasons/causes are. Thinking about this helps people understand others and they might be able to react to the signals in time.

Question sheet to mark

The group’s shyness about making a contribution to the subject should be taken away with the following questions which are to be answered fully anonymously by marking off the answers. The results will show whether the subject really is a subject for the group or the individuals.

Question sheet on the subject of suicide

Only cross off your answers – no names and no text

  • Have you thought about suicide before? YES/NO

    if YES: what was the cause/reason:

    • Problems - stress with boy/girlfriend,
    • Problems - stress with parents,
    • Problems - stress with school/job,
    • Problems - stress with alcohol/drugs,
    • Loneliness,
    • Not being understood
    • Not being loved
    • Fears/depression
  • Have you had direct experience with someone who has committed suicide? YES/NO

    If YES:

    • Relation, acquaintence
    • Friend
    • Classmate
  • Have you had direct experience with someone who has said that they wanted to put an end to their life? YES/NO

    If YES:

    • Relation, acquaintence
    • Friend
    • Classmate
  • Can you understand the reasons why someone might choose to die?

    • YES
    • NO I cannot put myself in their shoes
    • MAYBE – if I knew more details
  • Could you imagine being in such a position?

    • YES, I could imagine it
    • NO, I could not imagine it at the moment
    • MAYBE, but luckily I haven’t found myself in such a position yet.
      • NO, there is always a better solution
      • I would go to a trusted person (friend/pastor)
      • I would turn to an advice centre
      • I would pray
      • I would turn to an anonymous internet site


  • The answers are displayed on board/poster with points
  • The resulting answers clearly show how much the group members have involved themselves with the subject and which experiences exist.
  • Depending on the results you can carefully select the main subjects in the next part. Give the members courage to seek help (from case to case) or open their eyes, ears or hearts for the “helpers”.

Offer help, give courage to seek help and accept help

  • What are YOUR problems at the moment?

    • You are down, at a loose end and can’t be bothered with anything
    • Problems baffle you. You do not know how to talk about them. No one understands you and your problem. The good old “head up and everything will be OK” does not help much.
    • Problems make you irritable.
    • Problems shut you off from the world. You do not talk anymore, do not let anything out and it eats you up inside.

    You will not get a grip of your problems like this – your problems have you under control. If you only give one thing up: wanting to be alone and having the courage to ask for help.

  • Why don’t you have the courage and prefer to keep quiet?

    • You do not want to bother others with your problems.
    • Others have always seen you as “super cool” or „strong“. You do not want to be seen as a softy or be laughed at.
    • You are stubborn and think that you will get through it yourself.
    • You are scared of not finding the right words.
    • You are worried that the person you speak to will not listen properly; will not understand or will only bombard you with 1000 pieces of advice.

    You will not get a grip of your problems with the help of others like this and you will become more demoralised inside. Take the brave step and look for help.

  • What is important for helpers to know?

    • It is nice when you are a trusted person and someone opens up their heart to you.
    • It is important that you treat the information as confidential.
    • You will not and cannot have an answer to all questions. Just listening is very important because pouring the heart out is good therapy.
    • You can agree on taking little steps together or seek the help of a third party


Did people commit suicide in the bible?

  • Abimelech (Judges 9 52-54) Abimelech did not have any opinion of his own and no self worth. He was scared of being laughed at and being seen as a weakling.

  • Simson (Judges 16 25-30) Simson took his own life out of wrath because he believed he was dying for a good cause.

  • Saul (1 Samuel 31, 4) Saul was stressed out; he felt pressed into a corner and did not see any escape.

  • Saul’s weapon carrier (1 Samuel 31, 5) Saul’s weapon carrier spontaneously decided to die with him. Lots of suicides are very impulsive and spontaneous.

  • Ahitophel (2 Samuel 17, 23) Ahitophel was disappointed because no one listened to him and wanted to accept his advice.

  • Simri (1 Kings 16, 15-20) Simri had problems with his bosses, levelled out his brutal way to the throne. As his saw his power dwindling he took his own life.

  • Judas (Matthew 27, 3-5) Judas was guilty of betraying Jesus due to his hunger for money. His depression and guilty feelings led him to hanging himself

Trust in Jesus – learn to trust him anew

I am the way, the truth and the life
Jesus gives us life and we find the freedom to live in HIM. If we learn to trust HIM and maybe learn to trust in HIM anew, then we find life.

Shouts and calls for help

If problems occur, only shouting will help you – just like the blind man (see the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 5) who called to Jesus from the side of the road. Jesus had understood the signal (in contrast to the others who were standing around Jesus). Jesus went towards the blind man. Have courage to open your mouth and shout – just like the blind man.

For the helpers: open your eyes, ears and heart

The important thing for „those standing around“: do not dismiss those who are shouting and ignore them but walk up to them and offer assistance. It is important that there are friends and helpers who help carry the people looking for help to Jesus (see Luke 5, 17-26) and really apply themselves – even if it is hard work. You will notice how we need each other and how feeling and helping is not just a burden but can also be a good deed.


These stages of discussion were carried out with a youth group of boys aged 14 to 18. The subject was taken seriously and was received thankfully because the boys had already been confronted with the subject in some form before. No one had to give any information but the results of the assessment showed how much some of the youths had already fought with the subject. One thing became clear: how little we actually know about the real inner needs of our group members and that the things behind the façade are usually different than they seem.

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