The Loss Team: An Important Postvention Component of Suicide Prevention

Results of a program evaluation

Authored by: Regina T. P. Aguirre , Laura Frank Terry

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292


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At least six (Andriessen, 2009) to ten people (Jordan & McMenamy, 2004) are left behind to grieve each suicide—though the bereaved by suicide, also termed suicide survivors, would note this is a gross underestimate. The excruciating effects of suicide on survivors is perhaps best illustrated by studies indicating that suicide survivors are often at increased risk for suicide themselves—between 2 and 10 times that of the general population (Qin, Agerbo, & Mortensen, 2002; Prigerson, 2003; Runeson & Åsberg, 2003; Kim et al., 2005). Given this statistic, it is easy to understand Shneidman's (1972) suggestion that postvention—activities that come after the suicide to alleviate its impact on those bereaved—both assists the bereaved in their grief process and serves as suicide prevention for the next generation. The most common form of postvention for suicide survivors is the suicide survivor support group (e.g. Cerel, Padgett, Conwell, & Reed, 2009) but there is often a long period—up to four-and-a-half years (Campbell, Cataldie, McIntosh, & Millet, 2004)—between the death and the survivor accessing these or other grief support services. Additionally, it is estimated that only 25% of survivors seek help (Dyregrov, 2002; Provini, Everett, & Pfeffer, 2000).

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