What is Suicide Postvention and Why Is It Important?
Suicide postvention describes the support provided to suicide loss survivors (such as family, friends, professionals, and peers). Effective and comprehensive postvention services include a LOSS Team to offer support and guidance.
Postvention is important because those directly impacted by a suicide loss are in need of support and are at an increased risk of suicide themselves. There is sometimes stigma associated with suicide. This may negatively impact the bereaved individual’s willingness to acknowledge the loss and to ask for help.
Connecting those bereaved by suicide to helpful resources as soon as possible promotes healing.
What is a Suicide LOSS Team and Why Is It Important?
LOSS stands for Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors. A LOSS Team is an active model of postvention that involves two or more trained volunteers who go to the scene of a suicide to provide immediate support to those left behind. Having a LOSS Team at the scene of a suicide provides loss survivors with practical
support, a connection to resources, and most importantly, an instillation of hope.
A LOSS Team includes two or more volunteers — at least one of which is a suicide survivor. The model of a LOSS Team is based on peer support. Having an individual who has lost a loved one to suicide introduce him or herself to the new loss survivor and provide care and support helps to plant seeds of hope. By simply saying, “I lost a loved one to suicide,” a volunteer gives permission for the newly
bereaved to use the word suicide and allows him/her to know that he/she is not alone.
Source: How to Launch a Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Team. Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. May 2020.