Press Release

Webinar to Touch on Grief After Self-Inflicted Death

WASHINGTON, March 3 -- Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) will host a 90-minute webinar on March 21 at 12 p.m. ET on the topic Grief After Self-Inflicted Causes of Death, featuring experts William Feigelman, PhD and Jack Jordan, PhD. Continuing education credits are available for a wide range of professional boards. Registration is open now for individuals and organizations.

In the past two decades, the world has seen a dramatic rise in self-inflicted deaths, when a person’s actions, whether intentional or not, lead to their own death. One study published in Lancet, a leading health academic research journal, found that, the rate of deaths by self-harm had spiked nearly 32 percent between 1990 and 2010. The largest portion of self-inflicted deaths is by suicide, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounts for almost 2 percent, or more than 40,000, deaths each year in the United States. The World Health Organization predicts that suicide will become the ninth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030.

Self-inflicted death, which includes drug overdoses and suicide, can be particularly difficult for surviving loved ones because such deaths are sudden, traumatic, and stigmatized. Survivors, as one article in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience states, “may require unique supportive measures and targeted treatment to cope with their loss.” During HFA’s webinar, Dr. Feigelman, an author, lecturer and suicide survivor, and Dr. Jordan, a psychologist who specializes in work with survivors of suicide and other traumatic losses, will outline the complications of these devastating losses, address the underlying factors affecting grief, and conclude with strategies to help professionals support and counsel the bereaved.

Dr. Jordan has termed the American culture’s typical approach to grief the “flu model,” wherein grief is painful, yet short-lived. Once survivors return to their former routine after a period of mourning, they are discouraged from talking about their continuing grief. Rather than avoidance of the bereaved, Dr. Jordan suggests that friends and colleagues acknowledge the grief of a survivor, as it demonstrates support.

Recent studies have shown that violent deaths, like many of those that are self-inflicted, produce greater trauma for those affected by the death. Increased trauma has also been shown to be a catalyst for complicated grief, wherein the typical grieving processes have been disrupted, a condition that affects between 7 and 20 percent of the population. Some experts believe even more survivors of self-inflicted death suffer complications in grieving. 

As the rate of self-inflicted deaths rise, so do the rates of complicated grief. The questions facing us now are how do we educate ourselves and what are the best ways to support survivors. These questions and more will be addressed in HFA’s webinar, Grief After Self-Inflicted Causes of Death, March 21, 12 PM register here. The webinar will also be available in an archived format the following day

To learn more about complicated grief, consider HFA’s 24th annual presentation of Living With Grief®, When Grief is Complicated, available for viewing on April 27.

For more information on the Grief after Self-Inflicted Death webinar, contact HFA at info@hospicefoundation.org or by calling 1-800-854-3402