Soul Shop is built on seven key ideas:
Key Idea #1: Suicidal desperation can begin for anyone given an accumulation of losses combined with a reduction in resources to deal with those losses.
Key Idea #2: At any particular moment, a significant percentage of persons within a faith community are being impacted by suicidal desperation either in their own thinking, in the life of someone they care about, in the traumatic memory of a suicide of a friend or family member, or in their own personal history of a suicide attempt or near-attempt from which they have emerged.
Key Idea #3: Faith communities have a responsibility not only for preventing suicide and suicide attempts, but also for addressing those impacted by the agony and isolation of suicidal desperation.
Key Idea #4: The persons who are best positioned to address suicidal desperation are those most likely to identify it in the first place, e.g. family members, friends, congregants, and office staff (rather than therapists, counselors, social workers who see folks upon referral).
Key Idea #5: Faith communities offer important resources that can address the two primary reasons people become desperate, a loss of hope, and a loss of social connection.
Key Idea #6: The primary obstacles to dealing with suicidal desperation are emotional rather than informational and include stigma, fear, and shame. These must be addressed through practicing a different behavior in a supportive environment rather than through lectures or presentations.
Key Idea #7: As a faith community begins to adjust to the reality of suicidal desperation among its members, it must fundamentally alter the way members deal with one another.