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Providers as Suicide Loss Survivors | Managing Suicide Loss | Additional Resources

 

PROVIDERS AS SUICIDE LOSS SURVIVORS 

 

Throughout the course of their career, about one-quarter to one-half of mental health providers will experience the loss of a patient to suicide. Despite the fact that provider suicide loss is a common professional experience, providers often report a lack of comprehensive suicide postvention support.

   
 

 Losing a Patient to Suicide

 

When providers lose a patient to suicide, they are affected by the loss both personally and professionally. Suicide loss can affect providers’ professional identities, relationships with colleagues, and clinical work. The phenomenon of experiencing personal AND professional impacts is called twin bereavement. Check out the following graphic to learn more.
Download PDF of Losing a Patient to Suicide: When Personal and Professional Converge

  Losing a Patient to Suicide
 

Given the many demands providers face, it can be challenging to take time to seek support or ask for help. An important step towards understanding one’s own loss journey, helping others who have experienced a loss, or preparing for the possibility of future loss, is to hear from other provider suicide loss survivors. The following short film features three providers discussing their suicide loss journeys.

 
 

English with Audio Description | En Español | En Español con Descripción de Audio

 

Podcast: Providers' Suicide Loss Experience

 

Better understanding the nuanced impacts following a suicide loss is essential to personal and professional growth. Check out the following podcast featuring suicide bereavement and postvention experts, Drs. Nina Gutin and Vanessa McGann, co-founders of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Clinician Survivor Taskforce. In this episode, they map out the experience of suicide loss from a provider’s perspective, discussing what to expect, what is normal to feel, and things that can be done even before a suicide loss occurs.

Providers' Experience Podcast

View Episode Details

 

Blogs: Providers' Suicide Loss Experiences

 

Full Circle - Written by B.L.

 

Suicide “Succs”- Anonymous

  Full Circle Blog

“…The year was 1991 and suicide was a topic we didn’t understand or discuss. There were no support groups for survivors and no internet to find resources…” Read More

  Suicide "Succs" Blog

“Dealing with the aftermath of having a client suicide was so different from any other loss that I have experienced. It was difficult to even know how to feel…” Read More

 

More Blog Posts Coming Soon!
If you are a provider who would like to share your journey processing and healing after suicide loss, please email USPV@va.gov to learn how to do so.

 

American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Clinician Survivor Taskforce

  AAS Logo

The Clinician Survivor Task Force provides consultation, support, and education to psychotherapists and other mental health professionals to assist them in understanding and responding to their personal/professional loss resulting from the suicide death of a patient/client and/or family member.

To learn more, view the following brochure or visit the AAS Clinician Survivor Task Force website.

 

USPV developed a postvention podcast series in collaboration with the AAS Clinician Survivor Taskforce Co-Chairs, Dr. Nina J. Gutin and Dr. Vanessa L. McGann. The series includes episodes for both Clinician-Survivors of suicide and for the suicide loss survivors that providers support. You can listen to the podcasts , or check out a description of the podcast series.

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MANAGING SUICIDE LOSS

 

Better understanding the nuanced impacts following a suicide loss is essential to personal and professional growth. Check out the following podcast featuring suicide bereavement and postvention experts, Drs. Nina Gutin and Vanessa McGann, co-founders of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Clinician Survivor Taskforce. In this episode, they map out the experience of suicide loss from a provider’s perspective, discussing what to expect, what is normal to feel, and things that can be done even before a suicide loss occurs.

 

Trainings

 

The following training video provides an overview on provider suicide loss impact, including recommendations for navigating both emotional responses and professional responsibilities following the loss.

 
   
 

TAPS Trainings

The TAPS Postvention Model provides gentle, understanding support as loss survivors work through suicide loss. The following three Boeing-funded trainings were produced by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing and are recommended for providers and suicide loss survivors who would like to learn more.

 

Training: Suicide Grief and Trauma: Supporting Veterans and Families of the Fallen

Host: TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing (Made possible by Boeing)
Run time: 90 minutes
Presenter: Shauna Springer, PhD, Senior Director of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Moderator: Kim Ruocco, MSW, Vice President of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Description: Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®, this webinar with Shauna Springer, PhD, and Kim Ruocco, MSW, will offer insight around the experiences of grief and loss, as compared with trauma, and identify common barriers that may prevent veterans and military family members from discussing their experiences of grief and loss.  This discussion will also explain why trauma must be proactively addressed and treated to allow for a healthy grief journey.

 

Training: Grief to Growth: A Roadmap to a Healthy Grief Journey

Host: TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing (Made possible by Boeing)
Run time: 90 minutes
Presenter: Kim Ruocco, MSW, Vice President of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Moderator: Shauna Springer, PhD, Senior Director of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Description: Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®, this webinar with Kim Ruocco, MSW, and Shauna Springer, PhD, develops insight around best-practice grief support for suicide loss survivors, with the ultimate goal of helping survivors find new meaning and purpose as they progress along their healing journey.

 

Training: Intimate Partners and Suicide: Finding Hope When the Unthinkable Happens

Host: TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing (Made possible by Boeing)
Run time: 90 minutes
Presenter: Shauna Springer, PhD, Senior Director of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Moderator: Kim Ruocco, MSW, Vice President of TAPS Suicide Prevention and Postvention
Description: Presented by the TAPS Institute for Hope and Healing®, this webinar presented by Shauna Springer, PhD, and moderated by Kim Ruocco, MSW, discusses the range of common emotions that surviving spouses and partners may have due to the loss of a partner or spouse to suicide. This training will identify eight practical ways that healers of all types can use to support partners who have lost a loved one to suicide.

 

If you are a provider working with a Service Member, Veteran or family members who have experienced a suicide loss, please connect them to TAPS for resources and support. Loss survivors and providers can reach TAPS 24/7 at 800-959-TAPS (8277) or visit www.taps.org/suicide to learn more and get connected.

For more information about TAPS, you may also visit USPV's TAPS information page.

 

Sample Guidelines

 

The following are sample guidelines, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), to help individuals and agencies navigate essential steps following a suicide loss.

 

Sample Individual Practitioner Practices for Responding to Client Suicide
Authored by Jeffrey C. Sung, M.D. – Updated March 21, 2016

 

Sample Agency Practices for Responding to Client Suicide
Authored by Jeffrey C. Sung, M.D. – Updated March 21, 2016

 

Additional Guidelines

 

Riverside Trauma Center Postvention Guidelines
The following is another example of organizational postvention guidelines, provided by the Riverside Trauma Center, that can be used to assist you in developing a suicide postvention plan. Authored by Lawrence Berkowitz, Ed.D. James McCauley, LICSW Rebecca Mirick, LICSW

 

Suicide Postvention Preparation Plan
The following is a one-page Suicide Postvention Preparation Plan, developed by the USPV team, that provides practical guidance on how to develop and implement a suicide postvention preparation plan. Authored by Sarra Nazem, PhD & Christine Pao M.Ed. – Updated August 20, 2019

 

Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program (SRM)

 

The Suicide Risk Management Consultation Program (SRM) provides free consultation for any provider, community or VA, who serves Veterans at risk for suicide. In addition to providing consultation on suicide prevention (e.g., assessment, conceptualization, intervention), consultation is also provided on suicide postvention. This includes provider support following suicide loss and consultation on how to develop and establish suicide postvention processes.

Learn more at https://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn19/consult/.
Request a consult by emailing: srmconsult@va.gov.

 

Podcast: Managing Legal & Ethical Considerations of Suicide Loss

 

Navigating legal and ethical considerations following a suicide loss can be tough. The following podcast features psychologist, Dr. Vanessa McGann, and suicide malpractice lawyer, Skip Simpson, J.D., discussing how to consider important legal and ethical elements before and after a suicide loss.

Providers' Experience Podcast

View Episode Details

 

Podcasts: Postvention Practices in Workplace Settings

 

The breadth of individuals impacted by a suicide loss can vary greatly depending upon the setting in which the loss occurs. The following podcast episodes are available to provide setting-specific guidance for postvention practices.

 

Medical Centers

 

General Workplaces

  Medical Centers

View Episode Details

  General Workplaces

View Episode Details

 

Crisis Centers

 

Schools

  Crisis Centers

View Episode Details

  Schools

View Episode Details

 

Mental Health Centers and Private Practices

 

Military Settings

  Mental Health Centers and Provate Practices

View Episode Details

  Military Settings

View Episode Details

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

 

American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Clinician Survivor Taskforce

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

 

Alliance of Hope

 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

 

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

 

Resources for Providers Working with Suicide Loss Survivors

 

Alliance of Hope - for professionals - resources, information, and ways to connect with suicide loss survivors

 

USPV Recommended Resources - for suicide loss survivors in the Community, including Veterans & Families with Children

 

USPV Recommended Readings and Podcasts for Providers

 

Guide for Facilitating a Suicide Survivor Support Group

 

Guidelines for Providing Postvention Support from a Distance

     
     

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