MIRECC / CoE
Uniting for Suicide Postvention - About USPV
Sarra Nazem, Ph.D. (USPV Director)
- Dr. Nazem is a Clinical Research Psychologist at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC. Together with partners at the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, she is leading the development of suicide postvention resources for the VA. Dr. Nazem has served on several VA and Department of Defense suicide postvention workgroups. In addition to an active line of suicide prevention research, Dr. Nazem also serves as a consultant for the Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program and delivers evidence-based treatment with Veterans.
Christine Jackson, B.A. (USPV Program Support Specialist)
- Ms. Jackson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, with a minor in Education from the University of Colorado Boulder. In addition to providing administrative support for USPV, Ms. Jackson assisted in the development of USPV resources.
Laurel Gaeddert, B.S. (USPV Program Support Specialist)
- Ms. Gaeddert earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Biology and concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Denver. In addition to providing administrative support for USPV, Ms. Gaeddert has assisted in the development of USPV resources.
Christine Pao, M.Ed. (USPV Program Support Specialist)
- Ms. Pao is completing her PhD in Counseling Psychology at the University of Houston. She is a predoctoral Psychology Intern at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA. In addition to providing administrative support for USPV, Ms. Pao has assisted in the development of USPV resources.
USPV staff would like to acknowledge Dr. Maggie Guglielmi for her pioneering contributions on how to establish and execute a Suicide Postvention Team. We would also like to thank the countless individuals who have served on focus groups, collaborated on USPV products, and those who have shared their personal experiences following a death by suicide.
In addition, we’d like to recognize the American Association of Suicidology and their members for their support and contribution to the USPV podcast series and other resources. Finally, we’d like to thank Tipping Point Solutions for their expertise developing many of the multimedia resources found on the USPV website.
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Suicide prevention is a commonly used and understood term. However not everyone recognizes suicide postvention. Suicide postvention builds upon prevention efforts by providing immediate and ongoing support to those impacted by a suicide loss. Suicide postvention efforts are critical to fostering healing after suicide for all those touched by the loss.
Suicide postvention efforts are critical to suicide prevention. A comprehensive suicide prevention plan includes suicide postvention planning to help promote healing and reduce negative outcomes after a suicide loss occurs.
Uniting for Suicide Postvention (USPV) is supported by the VA Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP) and the Rocky Mountain MIRECC. As part of the VA mission to develop, disseminate, and implement a comprehensive suicide prevention program, VA leaders, including Suicide Prevention Coordinators, came together in the Fall of 2016 to begin addressing ways to improve suicide postvention within the VA. Building upon these efforts, USPV was created and developed to further expand suicide postvention efforts, both in and out of the VA. USPV developers are passionate about creating a community of shared healing that is inclusive to all those affected by suicide loss, including providers (an often neglected population of those affected), to decrease stigma and promote support following suicide loss.
Although USPV is supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (OMHSP), the majority of USPV’s resources are designed to support ALL who have been touched by suicide loss, regardless of their military, Veteran, or military family status.
USPV recommends visiting the Community section of our website to start. Here you will find resources to help you better understand suicide loss, including the feelings you may experience due to the loss. Additionally, the USPV team recommends passing along the following handouts to help others understand your experience and ways to help: "Reactions to Suicide Loss, Common but Unique.pdf" (PDF | Image/.png) and "Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor, What You Can Do to Help" (PDF | Image/.png).
I would like to help someone I know who has lost someone to suicide, which section of the USPV website is right for me?
USPV recommends visiting the Community section of our website, which contains resources to help you understand suicide loss and find effective ways to provide support. In particular, we recommend these handouts:
"Reactions to Suicide Loss, Common but Unique" (PDF | Image/.png) and
"Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor, What You Can Do to Help.pdf" (PDF | Image/.png)
You may also find it helpful to direct the suicide loss survivor to the Voices of Other Loss Survivors page to hear from others who have lost someone in their life to suicide.
The Providers section of the USPV website contains a wealth of information for providers who have experienced the suicide loss of a patient or client. The resources in this section are intended to help you understand, process, and navigate the impact of a suicide loss in both professional and personal domains.
I am a provider who has never lost someone to suicide, which section of the USPV website is right for me?
USPV recommends first exploring the Providers section to better understand the dual impact of a suicide loss on providers’ personal and professional lives. About one-quarter to one-half of mental health providers will lose a patient to suicide sometime in their career. As such, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with postvention best practices in the case of a suicide death of a client or patient you work with. If you are a supervisor or manager in a healthcare setting, the Workplace section of the USPV website can also help you develop and incorporate a suicide postvention plan in your workplace.
The USPV Workplace page is the best place to start if you are interested in learning more about suicide postvention in the workplace. This section offers concrete steps on developing postvention strategies to support your employees and their families following a suicide death. In addition, you will find setting-specific recommendations on how to incorporate a postvention plan into your business, school, private practice, or medical or community center.
USPV recommends exploring the resources on the Workplace section of the website. This section offers information on important considerations, such as how to notify your employees immediately after a suicide loss, provide support to the family, and promote long-term healing. It may be helpful, to refer to the following handout, which is a quick guide for implementing a workplace postvention plan following a suicide loss:
Supporting employees after a suicide, mapping your workplace plan (PDF | Image/.png) .
If you are interested in contributing to the USPV webpage or have additional resources you would like to share with USPV, please contact us at USPV@va.gov.
Additionally, the USPV team recommends viewing these handouts
Reactions to Suicide Loss, Common but Unique (PDF | Image/.png)and
Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor, What You Can Do to Help (PDF | Image/.png) .
Be sure to check out the Workplace Section of USPV website if you are interested in implementing a postvention plan or creating a postvention team for your workplace.
If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, please dial 911. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 (then press one for Veterans). You may also access a free, confidential chat online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ or https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat for Veterans.
If you believe a loved one is experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, please dial 911. If you are worried your loved one is having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 (then press one for Veterans). You may also access a free, confidential chat online for your loved one at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ or https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat for Veterans.
If you still have questions or need additional guidance, you can reach our postvention team at USPV@va.gov.