Postvention Effectiveness

December 04, 2020

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

Suicide bereavement support (i.e., postvention) may be an important prevention strategy for people who have experienced a suicide loss. However, there is limited information on its effectiveness. This study sought to identify the impact of postvention strategies on grief, mental health, and suicide-related outcomes through a systematic literature review.

Researchers identified 12 peer-reviewed, controlled research studies on postvention interventions that had outcomes in the targeted areas of grief, mental health, or suicide. They found that interventions using trained facilitators and engaging family and community supports were more likely to have positive outcomes.

The identified studies examined a wide range of interventions, study populations, and outcome measures, and they had limited replicability. These considerations make it difficult to draw conclusions about the implications of current research for postvention practice.

To better understand the role of postvention in suicide prevention efforts, the researchers concluded more methodologically rigorous studies on the effectiveness of postvention interventions are needed.

Andriessen, K., Krysinska, K., Hill, N. T. M., Reifels, L., Robinson, J., Reavley, N., & Pirkis, J. (2019). The effectiveness of interventions for people bereaved through suicide: A systematic review of controlled studies of grief, psychosocial, and suicide-related outcomes. BMC Psychiatry, 19(1), 49.