Professional Response to Suicide

Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group - Madison, NJ

Many different professionals are called upon to provide support and assistance after a suicide or suicide attempt.  The following is a collection of information useful to those professionals in helping survivors of suicide as well as helping the professional responders themselves.

Help for Professionals Dealing With Suicide Loss

You are the first people called when a suicide occurs or is discovered.  Your early actions and support for those bereaved by the loss of their loved one to suicide will leave a lasting impression.  Your actions and choice of words towards those who are likely in shock can provide them comfort and healing.  

First Responders (LEO, Fire and EMS) Assistance for Suicide Loss

The first on the scene of a suicide loss  are often the traditional first responders:  Law Enforcement Officers (LEO), Police (PD), Fire Department (FD) or Emergency Medical Service (EMS).  In addition to dealing with what is initially treated as a crime scene, they need to provide support and comfort to the suicide survivors.  Some survivors have not only discovered the body of their loved one, they may have also witnessed the actual suicide event. Below are some documents and articles to assist you in providing support and assistance to those touched by suicide.

Religious Leaders Assistance after a Suicide

Often the second group people of people that are involved with supporting and assisting the survivors of suicide loss next are Religious Leaders.  Religious leaders such as Priests, Pastors, Rabbis are called to help the emotional and spiritual needs of those who have had their lives touched by suicide.  It is a moment of crisis for many, their faith will be shaken and their beliefs challenged.  They will be confused about how their faith actually deals with suicide.

Funeral Directors Assistance for Suicide Survivors

For those that do not have an established faith, the Funeral Director is often the next contact.  Funeral Directors are called upon to handle the body of the deceased, but also to help the family decide what is the appropriate way to remember the deceased.  The survivors of suicide loss are often ashamed or feel guilty about the suicide and may want to hide the truth about the circumstances of the death. 

Schools and Teachers Assistance for Suicide Support

When the suicide death is a student or a faculty member it is important that the entire school system respond appropriately.  There is an opportunity to discuss suicide prevention and to also help remove the stigma associated with mental health issues. 

Clinical Providers Assistance After a Patient Suicide

Next, the Clinical Professionals ( Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers)  and Medical Professionals (Physicians,Nurses)  who may have worked with the suicide victim or is called to help the loved ones after the suicide.  The provider will have to deal with their own personal feelings and response when the person who died by suicide is a patient.

Medical Professionals Assisting Suicide Attempt Survivors