Year: 2016 Source: Alabama Counseling Association Journal.(2012).38 (2):104-119. SIEC No: 20160510

Suicide postvention is a concept related to the prevention of subsequent suicides, provision of mental health services, and the community response following a completed suicide. Many people including parents, school mates, friends, siblings, teammates and extended family are impacted in different ways by the loss of a family member or person of close connection, to suicide. In Alabama, suicide contributed to 667 lives lost in 2009 of which 76 (11.4%) were youth age 5-24 (D. Hodges, Alabama Injury Prevention Branch, personal communication, August 12, 2011). All suicides have one thing in common–the production of survivors, who grieve, attempt to understand and rationalize death by suicide, and to move forward in their lives. Despite robust data sources, it is estimated that for every suicide there are six survivors, a conservative estimate. This paper will provide an overview of postvention, characteristics of a survivor of suicide loss, general postvention program goals, school system preparation, support for families and peers in the wake of a youth suicide. For the purposes of this paper, youth is defined as a person between the ages of five and 24.

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