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GPs and postvention

Postvention is not the responsibility of one person or organisation, but within each community affected by suicide, GPs play an important role.10,11 On an individual level, many people turn to their GP when they need support during bereavement.12 At the community level, the role of GPs may include education and preventive activities.13

When caring for people bereaved by suicide, it is important to:

  • understand potential grief experience and duration
  • be able to recognise bereavement-related mental health disorders, like complicated grief, PTSD and bereavement-related depression
  • direct people to appropriate resources and services
  • understand what interventions are likely to benefit.14,15


  1. Luoma JB, Martin CE, Pearson JL. Contact with mental health and primary care providers before suicide: A review of the evidence. Am J Psychiatry 2002;159(6):909–16.
  2. Denneson LM, Williams HB, Kaplan MS, McFarland BH, Dobscha SK. Treatment of veterans with mental health symptoms in VA primary care prior to suicide. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 2016;38:65–70.
  3. O'Connor M, Breen LJ. General practitioners' experiences of bereavement care and their educational support needs: A qualitative study. BMC Med Educ 2014;14:59.
  4. Krysinska K, Batterham PJ, Tye M, et al. Best strategies for reducing the suicide rate in Australia. Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 2015;50(2):386. doi:10.1177/0004867415620024.
  5. Ghesquiere AR, Patel SR, Kaplan DB, Bruce ML. Primary care providers' bereavement care practices: Recommendations for research directions. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2014;29(12):1221–29.
  6. Jordan J, McIntosh J. Is suicide bereavement different? A framework for rethinking the question. In: Jordan J, McIntosh J, editors. 
    Grief after suicide. New York: Roitledge, 2011.


After suicide: A resource for GPs