Sopravvivere al suicidio di una persona cara: impatto e interventi di supporto per i sopravvissuti (postvention)

Translated title of the contribution: Surviving the suicide of a loved one: impact and postvention

Martina Pontiggia, Rossella Di Pierro, Fabio Madeddu, Raffaella Calati

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Suicide is a public health problem having important consequences also for people who survive to the suicide of a loved one – the suicide loss survivors. Since suicide bereavement can have a lasting and significant psychosocial impact on the bereaved individuals, psychosocial treatments are needed (postvention). Many countries have included postvention in their suicide prevention policies. This is a narrative review aiming to investigate the bereavement experience of suicide loss survivors, the associated symptoms, and to describe adequate treatments to properly reduce survivors’ grief and help them to adapt to the loss. Method. Literature review of peer reviewed literature (PubMed, PsycINFO), books about bereavement, suicide, postvention and postvention guidelines. Results. Suicide loss survivors may have an increased risk of developing psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive disorders, anxiety, and substance abuse; an increased risk of suicide; increased physical complaints; and an increased risk of developing Persistent Complex Bereavement. About postvention, two measures turn out to be very important. An immediate first on-the-spot intervention that includes: specific training for general practitioner and police; to direct survivors to support services; provide proactive and practical support; psychological autopsy. The second intervention is a long-term one and can be delivered in a variety of ways: the most effective therapy for survivors appears to be Complicated Grief Therapy, but in general the therapist must be adequately trained for individual psychotherapy with survivors. Other effective interventions include: writing projects; group psychotherapy; support groups. Conclusion. A public health approach to postvention can allow to tailor interventions to the needs of survivors, and to align postvention with suicide prevention programs.

Translated title of the contributionSurviving the suicide of a loved one: impact and postvention
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)728-741
Number of pages14
JournalRecenti Progressi in Medicina
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Bereavement
  • grief
  • mental health
  • postvention
  • prevention
  • suicide
  • survivors


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