Leading Through Inquiry, Inclusion, and Action


In addition to suicide assessment and interventions with clients, professional counselors engage in prevention and postvention strategies.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide prevention takes many forms. Curriculum-based prevention or education programs include in-service training modules to teachers and teaching staff, or in-class programs for students. These programs focus on providing information about warning signs, myths related to suicide, and steps for helping a person to get help. The intent is to inform people most likely to be in daily contact with someone who is suicidal so that behaviors and “cries for help” can be recognized.
Another approach is “inoculations” in which non-clinical populations are given interventions designed to lower suicide risk and, in affect, increase reasons for living and potential protective factors. Another way to view this is to build resiliency factors and remediate behaviors associated with risk factors.

For information on Suicide Prevention see:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org)
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (www.mentalhealth.org/suicideprevention/default.asp)
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) (www.save.org)

Suicide Postvention

Postvention includes procedures to alleviate the distress of suicidally bereaved individuals, reduce the risk of imitative suicidal behavior, and promote the healthy recovery of the affected community. Postvention can also take many forms depending on the situation in which the suicide takes place. Schools and colleges may include postvention strategies in overall crisis plans. Individual and group counseling may be offered for survivors (people affected by the suicide of an individual).
For information on Suicide Postvention see:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Northwest Resources (www.afspnw.org/resources.html)

Dunne, E., McIntosh, J., & Dunne-Maxim, K. (1987). Suicide and its aftermath:

Understanding and counseling survivors. New York: Norton.

Grossman, J., Hirsch, J., Goldenber, D., Libby, S., Fendrich, M., Mackesy-Amiti,

M. E., Mazur, C., & Hill-Chance, G. (1995). Strategies for school-based response to loss: Proacrtive training and postvention consultation. Crisis, 16, 18-26.

Hewett, J. (1980). After suicide. Philadelphia: Westminster.