Program Evaluation of a Suicide Prevention Walk: Finding Postvention Opportunities for Promoting Resilience in Survivors of Suicide Loss

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Ellison, Lisa A. Cooper
JMU Scholarly Commons
suicide; suicide prevention; postvention; suicide prevention walk; resilience; survivor of suicide
thesis / dissertation description
Each year more than 34,000 people die by suicide leaving between 6 to10 survivors of suicide loss behind for every person who dies. The risk of suicide for these survivors is between 2 to 10 times the general population. It is imperative that postvention efforts target vulnerable individuals grieving suicide losses. Recent studies have examined the efficacy of postvention supports for these survivors, such as counseling and survivors of suicide support groups; however, little is known about the vast majority of survivors who do not seek services. Each year, large numbers of survivors of suicide loss attend community suicide prevention walks. For some, these walks may be the only activities they participate in where suicide is the focus. It is quite possible that these survivors of suicide loss use walks as a way to make meaning from their losses. This study examines how these walks fit into survivors healing journeys and advocates for the use of resilience-based activities at these events to support positive meaning-making, affect regulation, and instill hope.