by Franklin Cook
The report "Helping All Who Are Exposed: A New View of Suicide Loss" describes a framework that considers the needs of everyone who might experience negative effects after someone dies by suicide. The framework organizes the people a suicide could impact into four categories:
- Suicide Exposed: Everyone who has any connection to the deceased or to the death itself, including witnesses
- Suicide Affected: Those for whom the exposure causes a reaction, which may be mild, moderate or severe, self-limiting or ongoing
- Suicide Bereaved Short-Term: People who have an attachment bond with the deceased and gradually adapt to the loss over time
- Suicide Bereaved Long-Term: Those for whom grieving becomes a protracted struggle that includes diminished functioning in important aspects of their life
This graphic gives examples of people who might experience fallout from a suicide, including many whose needs are not accounted for in current outreach efforts. The report states:
"Determining how a particular individual might be categorized would not be linked to the person's designation, role, or relationship in reference to the deceased. Rather, each person's reaction to the death would determine the category into which he or she would be classified."
The report can be downloaded for free. It covers one of several fresh perspectives in the field of suicide postvention offered in Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines by the Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Learn more about the National Guidelines here.
Franklin Cook, MA, CPC lost his father to suicide and is a member of the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors Board of Directors. He works nationally in peer-led suicide grief support as well as in suicide prevention and postvention training and project management. Visit his website at personalgriefcoach.com.