Suicide Postvention Extension Support Plan Development

Western Region



(Logan, Mesa)

Primary Topic:

Health and Well-Being

Other Topics:

Economic and Community Development, Emergency Planning and Resources

Lead Mentor:  

Calandra Lindstadt

Regional Health Specialist

Internship Overview:

The purpose of this internship is to research and develop a suicide postvention support model for the CSU Office of Engagement and Extension (CSU OEE). Rural populations are at an increased risk for suicide due to a cluster of factors including stigma, social isolation, lack of access to behavioral health resources, and access to lethal means. After a suicide, community members are at an increased risk for depression, substance abuse issues, and even additional suicide attempts. Postvention activities, or actions taken to support a community in the aftermath of a suicide, can help support community members and preempt the negative impacts of rural suicide. The Office of Engagement and Extension is in a unique position to provide support to rural communities in the event of a suicide.

Anecdotally, CSU OEE County Educators already function as key resources in the event of tragic death for rural communities. Because OEE Educators directly facilitate Extension programming in their respective counties they are intimately familiar with the communities they serve. Unfortunately, no coordinated plan or training exists to support OEE Educators in the event of a suicide. Currently, responses have ranged from running an entire farming operation for one family who lost a central working member, to feeling helpless and unable to offer meaningful aid due to lack of knowledge, support, and capacity. This project will expand the ability of CSU OEE as an organization to respond in the event of a tragic rural death by developing a coordinated response plan and increasing OEE Educators’ capacity through community engagement and networking around the topic of postvention.

The intern will work with data collected from two public listening forums held during the Spring 2023. Transcripts of the forums will be reviewed and analyzed for themes. Additional interviews may be conducted on an as-needed-basis. In addition, other postvention support models will be collected and assessed for viability. From this data, recommendations for the development and implementation of a tailored suicide postvention support plan for CSU OEE.

Experience with the context of suicide prevention is preferred. Intern must have prior experience in qualitative research methods.

Goals, Scope and Objectives:

The goal of this internship is to develop a framework for the creation of a suicide postvention support plan for the CSU Office of Engagement and Extension. Ultimately, this information will be used to create a pilot program for suicide postvention support that will be implemented and evaluated for CSU OEE. The intern will assist with examining qualitative data (transcripts from public listening sessions), conducting interviews as needed, and researching existing suicide postvention programs to determine: 1) needs/assets in rural communities around suicide postvention; 2) opportunities for CSU OEE to support communities in the event of a suicide; and 3) existing resources and models that can be used as models for the development of a tailored postvention support plan for CSU OEE. The final product will be a series of recommendations for the development of a suicide postvention support plan tailored for CSU OEE.

With which stakeholder group(s) will the intern work?

CSU OEE County Educators
Rural community members, including farmers/ranchers

What student learning outcomes do you anticipate and what are the opportunities for professional development?

Intern will practice self-directed learning skills through experiential education in authentic settings; evaluated through a pre/post assessment of pre-identified key skills and learning/practice goals including 1) Evaluating the existing programming available for postvention support; 2) Fieldwork in applying qualitative research methods.

Intern will develop key communication skills related to analyzing a body of data and results: 1) Summarize and synthesize thematic results in a white paper or executive report to share with scholars and practitioners; 2) Develop a presentation for key members of CSU OEE.
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