Support for Mental Health Workers After Client Suicide: A Systematic Review


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Jessica Toft


Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Often, a person who has committed suicide had suffered from some sort of mental illness. Mental health workers are at risk for experiencing a client death by suicide at some point in their career. This systematic review was designed to explore what supports are available for mental health workers after a client suicide, and how effective those supports are. The review used peer-reviewed articles from databases Social Work Abstracts, PsycNet, SocIndex and GoogleScholar. These databases were systematically searched and 10 articles met criteria. From these articles, seven themes were identified as being helpful supports to mental health workers after a client suicide: 1) preparatory training; 2) group debriefing/discussion; 3) personal support system; 4) collegial support/shared experience; 5) supervision; 6) perspective of client’s right to self-determination; and 7) recommendations for what to avoid. More research is required in order to understand what structured interventions may be beneficial to mental health workers after a client suicide.


mental health worker, client suicide, intervention, support

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.