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 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Welcome to our FAQ Section

Click on the plus (+) symbol next to a question below to expand that section and see the response to the question. Click the minus (-) to close that section.

What is Suicide Postvention?

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.

How does Suicide Postvention relate to Suicide Prevention?

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.

What is USPV?

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.

Is USPV for non-Veteran or non-military members?

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.

I know someone who died by suicide, which section of the USPV website is right for me?

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)
 - "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
  - "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 section to hear from others who have lost someone in their life to suicide.

I am a provider who has lost someone to suicide, which section of the USPV website is right for me?

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..

I am curious about postvention for my workplace, which section of the USPV website is right for me?

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.

My workplace has been touched by suicide, which section of the USPV website is right for me?

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)

How can I get involved with USPV?

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.

Can I request USPV printed or digital resources?

If you would like to obtain digital advertisements, Powerpoint slides, or printed graphics and resources from USPV please visit the USPV Products section or contact the USPV team at USPV@va.gov.

How do I bring suicide postvention efforts to my community?

If you are interested in bringing postvention efforts to your community, we recommend checking out our Postvention 101 podcast and any other episode topics you are curious about.

Additionally, the USPV team recommends viewing these handouts
  - Reactions to Suicide Loss, Common but Unique
    (PDF | Image/PNG
  - Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor, What You Can Do to Help
    (PDF | Image/PNG)

I am in crisis and need help

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 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line). You may also access a free, confidential chat online:  
 -  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/ 
  - https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat for Veterans.

I am worried about a loved one in crisis

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 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line). You may also access a free, confidential chat online for your loved one:
 - https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
 - 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.

         

If you are looking for more resources regarding the personal impact of suicide loss, check out the Community section of USPV.

 

If you are a medical or mental health provider who has lost someone to suicide (personally or professionally), check out the Providers section of USPV. 

 

If you are looking to start offering postvention in your workplace, check out the Workplace section of USPV.

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