Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force

Read our newest resource, Responding to Grief, Trauma, and Distress After a Suicide: U.S. National Guidelines and view the archived webinar about the resource.

Slides from the 2015 American Association of Suicidology Conference release of the National Guidelines.


Develop consensus guidelines for the creation and implementation of effective, comprehensive support programs for survivors of suicide loss (the “Guidelines”).  The Guidelines will serve as a crystallizing benchmark for organizations, communities, states, and the nation for the development of a support infrastructure for survivors of suicide loss. 


  1. Conduct a review of existing evidence related to, among other things, the emotional needs of survivors and the linkage between exposure to suicide and the subsequent risk for suicide in the person exposed. Review model programs and services that have been developed both within the United States and internationally.
  2. Draft consensus guidelines. Guidelines will incorporate relevant existing material and research findings, as well as consensus recommendations that will be developed in consultation with a diverse group of experts.
  3. Solicit feedback on draft version of the Guidelines. The task force will recruit an interdisciplinary expert panel comprised of survivors, clinicians, and researchers for the purposes of reviewing the content of the Guidelines. The expert panel will review the draft and provide feedback which will be incorporated into the final version.
  4. Submit the Guidelines for inclusion in Section II of the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention (BPR). Once complete, the consensus guidelines will be submitted to the BPR.
  5. Market and disseminate the Guidelines to a wide range of suicide prevention, bereavement support, and mental health organizations.


  • Franklin Cook, MA, Co-Lead Private Sector; Unified Community Solutions*
  • John R. (“Jack”) Jordan, PhD, Co-Lead Private Sector; Family Loss Project
  • Karen Moyer, Co-Lead Private Sector; Co-Founder, Chairman, and Vice President, Moyer Foundation
  • Larry Berkowitz, EdD, Director, Riverside Trauma Center *
  • Julie Cerel, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Social Work, University of Kentucky
  • Joanne Harpel, JD, MPhil, Survivor Advocate*
  • Doreen S. Marshall, PhD, Senior Director of Education and Prevention, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention*
  • Vanessa McGann, PhD, Clinical Psychologist*
  • John McIntosh, PhD, Professor & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Indiana University South Bend
  • Robert Neimeyer, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Memphis*
  • Ken Norton, LICSW, Executive Director, NAMI-New Hampshire
  • Sally Spencer-Thomas, PsyD, CEO and Co-founder, Carson J. Spencer Foundation* 
* Denotes person as a survivor of suicide loss