Year: 2018 Source: Death Studies. (2017). 41(10): 639-647. SIEC No: 20180535

Effective response by first responders in the immediate aftermath of a suicide death can play a critical role in reducing risk and promoting healing for family, friends, and the larger community by helping people who are newly bereaved to cope with the immediate crisis, created by the death. They also can lay the foundation for the difficult journey of mourning and healing that must follow. Stressing the importance of a comprehensive and coordinated community response to suicide, this article addresses the principles and practices that are called for in the Guidelines by highlighting four distinct first responder communities: law enforcement and emergency medical services; medical examiners; funeral professionals; and clergy and faith leaders. For each of these groups, the interrelated functions they serve after a suicide are described, and clear suggestions for improvement of these functions in the service of better assisting suicide loss survivors, as well as the broader community, are discussed.