Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Postvention Interventions

The following interventions have been suggested as potentially beneficial to providing supportive care in postvention:

  • Information about the manner, timing and circumstances of the death.
  • An opportunity to view the body.
  • Emotional support at a viewing of the body.
  • Information about official procedures and investigations, including an explanation of postmortem and inquest procedures. Written information pertaining to these issues.
  • A copy of, or the original suicide note or message shared as appropriate.
  • Help and assistance with informing family and others of the death and the circumstances of the death.
  • Assistance with interpretation of the postmortem report.
  • A package of written information covering: grief and coping strategies for grief; suicide; available resources; a reading list; contact information for local bereavement, and bereaved by suicide, support groups; and, related matters.
  • Written information about how to support children bereaved by suicide.
  • Advice about responding to media inquiries and requests for information about the death.
  • Referral to a general practitioner for information, support, assessment and, perhaps, medication.
  • Information about inquests, including the purpose, context and protocols associated with the process, and social and emotional support during the inquest.
  • Opportunities to talk about their experience of a suicide death with others who have been bereaved in this way, in the context of a bereaved by suicide support group, if available
  • Access to professional individual or group counselling, therapy or psychotherapy as needed, without cost being a barrier.
  • Support from religious leaders and clergy.
  • Access, in a non-stigmatizing way, to factual information about suicide and mental illnesses with which suicide may be associated.
  • Information about how to respond in social environments to questions about the suicide death in their family.
  • Information about how to cope with grief and about how others bereaved by suicide have coped during the years following a family suicide.
  • Access to information about the impact of suicide on family functioning, how other families have coped after suicide, and strategies for enhancing family communication and functioning after suicide.
  • Advice about how, and what to tell children about the suicide death of a close family member, and how to protect them from risk of suicidal behaviour.
  • Links with bereavement services.
  • Follow-up contact, several times during the first year to reiterate offers of support and assistance, and to provide information.


Addiction and Mental Health
Assessment and Care of Adults at Risk for Suicidal Ideation and Behaviour
Point of Care Resources