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How community postvention toolkit helps communities after a suicide

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — How our communities respond after a suicide death matters. For this reason, the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition created an online toolkit to help Utah communities respond after a suicide.

Suicide deaths can create a ripple effect that impacts loved ones and the broader community.

"How we respond, and how we talk about it is a really important aspect of postvention," Carol Ruddell, Utah Department of Health and Human Services Suicide Prevention Administrator said.

Following a suicide death, it's important to mourn the loss of a loved one, Ruddell said. Postvention is an organized response after a suicide to promote healing, ease other negative effects, and prevent suicide among people who are at high risk.

"Ultimately, I believe it saves lives," Ruddell said. "Postvention after a suicide death is just as important, and really is a part of suicide prevention."

The Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition released the Utah Community Postvention Toolkit. It guides communities in planning and responding safely.

"There's this ripple effect when we have a suicide death. For every one suicide death, we know there are about 130 people that can be affected by that one death," Benee Larsen, prevention director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah said.

Communities can use the toolkit to care for impacted, various members of the community from school kids to co-workers, or military veterans. Health and Human Services will put on webinars and sit down with community leaders.

"When you have someone who dies within the community, making sure we're not sharing the means of death, or sharing images of the death. But, instead, we're providing hopeful messages, maybe a picture of the individual when they were happy," Larsen said.

The tool includes step-by-step processes.

"Focus on the hopeful part of the individual's life," Larsen said.

The toolkit is on the website and anyone can use it to find help for their family or their community.

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis Hotlines

  • Huntsman Mental Health Institute Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • SafeUT Crisis Line: 833-372-3388
  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources

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Jed Boal


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