refers to interventions for bereaved survivors, community members, caregivers, and health care providers to
destigmatize suicide, assist with the recovery process, and serve as a secondary
prevention effort to minimize the risk of future suicides due to complicated grief, contagion, or
unresolved trauma. The goals of postvention are to:
- Support those impacted by the suicide
- Identify those at risk for suicide and refer them to care
- Reduce situations where people identify with suicide victims and model behavior
- Provide appropriate and accurate information about the suicide
Postvention plans should be in place prior to a suicide. Then, in the event of a suicide, key stakeholders can
involved in the response, support can be evenly distributed, and efforts are concerted rather than driven by
emotions. Postvention activities should normalize anger and minimize self-blame, help survivors find meaning in
the victim's life, avoid providing too much information about the manner of the death, be sensitive to cultural
differences regarding suicide, and should avoid glorifying, sensationalizing, or vilifying the victim.
Grief after a suicide can cause shame and guilt in those left behind, can be traumatic for family and friends,
and can have a ripple effect on communities. Considering the tight-knit nature of rural communities and their
many overlapping social networks, news of a suicide can travel fast and can affect a greater percentage of
residents and affect them more deeply than in urban areas. Clinicians
can also be severely impacted by the suicide of a patient. Therefore, it is important that rural communities,
health care organizations, and other settings such as schools have a process in place to support clinical
providers, staff, and community members in the aftermath of a suicide in order to prevent future suicides.
Program Clearinghouse Examples
Resources to Learn More
Find a Support Group
Lists virtual and in-person suicide bereavement support groups that can be filtered by location and proximity.
Includes support groups both internationally and in the United States.
Organization(s): American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines
Presents recommendations for developing suicide postvention plans for individuals or populations who are in
contact with, care about, or are impacted by a suicide loss. Includes an overview on suicide exposure and the
negative effects. Discusses the postvention needs of schools, workplaces, and organizations. Offers information
on the delivery of effective crisis response services to those affected by suicide.
Organization(s): National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention