Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of suicide postvention approaches used with suicide survivors, who are defined as the families, partners and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide. The goal was to determine the experience of postvention support for survivors through their own voice, and then to use the findings to develop a proposal for a National Suicide Postvention Plan to better meet the stated needs of this disenfranchised population. Twelve male and female survivors from around Massachusetts were interviewed using an open-ended question format to encourage the description of their own postvention experience. The participants were all over eighteen years old at the time of the suicide and had endured the loss at least one full year ago. The questions also elicited the participant's perspective on what an ideal postvention plan would look like. The findings of the research showed that more than half of the participants had no postvention support available to them after the death. For those who did, group therapy comprised of other survivors and led by a facilitator who is also survivor was reported as being the most effective. The majority of the participants articulated the need for an active outreach program as an ideal model, to help combat the solation so prevalent among survivors.


iv, 77 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 64-67).