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Practice management

Postvention guidance - support for staff after the death by suicide of a colleague


Amongst health professionals, the suicide rate is 24% higher than the national average.

A colleague’s suicide can lead to difficulty performing job tasks or continuing patient-facing work. Postvention is a package of support that can be offered to people affected by a death by suicide. Effective postvention can support recovering and reduce the likelihood of developing mental health problems and suicidal feelings among those impacted by the death.

Postvention guidance has been created, informed by a systematic review, interviews with NHS staff affected by a colleague’s suicide and a stakeholder workshop. It includes advice on:

  • Preparation (to ensure a proactive rather than reactive response)

  • An immediate response, with timely and clear communication about the death

  • Postvention, offered to cater for staff members’ emotional and practical needs

  • Consideration of the needs of managers/ postvention team members

  • Support that is sustained over time

WiseGP Actions:

  • Ensure key team members are familiar with Postvention guidance (link below)

  • Review our GEM and newsletter on preventing burnout for advice on how to support colleagues

  • Consider allocating protected time for your practice team to take stock of their working environment at regular intervals, so proactive changes can be made to support them

Postvention guidance: Supporting NHS staff after the death by suicide of a colleague.


On the study website under outputs, is a video sharing the story of 3 study participants.

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