U.S. National Guidelines for Suicide Postvention

Although the United States has had a plan for suicide prevention for over a decade (see Insert link to pdf file “NSSP Final (8-31-12)”), the nation has lacked a comparable design for suicide postvention (suicide postvention means the efforts made to assist the bereaved suicide loss survivors, and others in a community who may be impacted by a suicide death). The organization charged with implementing the national plan for suicide prevention is the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership established in 2010 (see https://theactionalliance.org/our-strategy/national-strategy-suicide-prevention //////http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/). However, in response to the omission of any meaningful postvention planning in the current national suicide prevention strategy, in 2012 the Action Alliance formed the Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force to create guidelines specifically addressing postvention in the U.S. (see http://actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/task-force/survivors-suicide-loss). The result of that work, released in April of 2015, is the document titled Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress after a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines (see Insert link to pdf file “NationalGuidelines” here).The Guidelines are a comprehensive proposal for advancing the cause of suicide postvention in America. They include a substantive review of the research on the impact of suicide on loss survivors, new theoretical work on the definition of survivorhood, and a set of detailed goals, objectives, and concrete suggestions for building compassionate support infrastructure for people bereaved by suicide. As the first such document in the history of suicidology in the U.S., the Guidelines are a remarkable blueprint for developing an organized, comprehensive, and above all, informed and compassionate response to suicide in our nation. I encourage you to review this document, and then follow-up in your community, state, and region on its many suggestions for helping people impacted by suicide.

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

National Guidelines for Suicide Postvention