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Webinar: Clinical Work with the Suicide Bereaved

Presenter: Vanessa L McGann PhD

Recorded: 23 August 2023

Webinar Overview: Supporting those Bereaved by Suicide

The loss of a loved one to suicide can present difficult challenges for suicide loss survivors (people bereaved by suicide) as well as for clinicians who would seek to help them. This presentation provides an overview of clinical work with suicide loss survivors. It includes discussions of who and how many are impacted by suicide, explores common themes of suicide bereavement, and the special aspect of stigma. It then explores the psychological tasks necessary for the integration of a suicide loss, goals for treatment, as well as ways to facilitate healing. The presentation will be of value to caregivers who work with suicide loss survivors in counselling or therapeutic contexts.

Those who will benefit from attending this webinar include physicians, nurses, emergency medical personnel, counsellors, clergy, social workers, counsellors, hospice staff, and others who may encounter those bereaved by suicide.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this webinar, participants should be able to:

  • list three (3) common reactions to a loss by suicide
  • discuss why stigma adds to the severity of grief in those bereaved by suicide
  • name and describe how at least one grief theory can be applied to work with those bereaved by suicide
  • list at least two (2) goals of therapy with those bereaved by suicide
  • list three (3) ways post-traumatic growth may be seen in those bereaved by suicide

Presenter Bio: Vanessa L McGann PhD

Dr McGann is a practicing psychologist in New York City specializing in traumatic loss. She is also co-chair of the Coalition for Clinician Survivors, an organization for professional caretakers who have had a loss to suicide and a board member of the Alliance for Hope, a comprehensive online healing support resource. She trains, teaches and consults on topics related to suicide assessment, intervention and care as well as postvention. She also helped to create the guidelines for the Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. She has been involved with numerous national suicide prevention organizations and task forces for postvention, along with training and consulting on postvention and clinical work with loss survivors. She lost her sister Nadine to suicide in 2004.

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