Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


Social workers-Training of, Social work education, Grief therapy, Suicide-Psychological aspects, Suicide, Suicide postvention, Suicide loss, Suicide bereavement, Complex grief and bereavement


This study is a mixed-methods descriptive survey of social workers with and LCSW or LMSW about their understanding of suicide survivorship, and their access to professional training related to treatment of survivors of suicide loss. The purpose of this study is to explore the attitudes and experiences of clinical social workers with regards to their education and training, as well as their knowledge and comfort level, in treating patients who are bereaved by a suicide death. Results show that social workers have limited opportunities for education and training in suicide bereavement, however they desire increased training opportunities in a variety of issues related to this issue. Social workers who treated a suicide loss survivor in the past, or attended a course or lecture on suicide bereavement, and/or had explored personal beliefs about suicide in a formal educational or professional setting reported having more preparation to assess and treat complex grief and bereavement than clinicians without this education and experience. In congruence with the literature related to suicide postvention practice, it is clear that encouraging social work graduate institutions, licensing boards, and mental health agencies to require training related to the prevention, assessment, and treatment of suicide assessment, intervention, and postvention practices would be a significant step for the field.




v, 114 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 75-85)

Included in

Social Work Commons