Postvention Services Also Helps For Intervention and Prevention of Veteran Suicide

Postvention Services Also Helps For Intervention and Prevention of Veteran Suicide

Lessons Learned After a Suicide Must Cross Over

Once A Soldier Offers Postvention Services In The Time of Need

As the founder of Once A Soldier, the following is a bit embarrassing but true. I had no idea what postvention was. Prevention, sure. Intervention definitely. But postvention was not used that much. And why would it be? With government dollars flowing to prevention of veteran or soldier suicide, stopping it was where all the conversations were being held.

But we thought differently from the beginning. We looked at the family and thought they’ve been through enough. Let’s help them. No matter what it is called, it’s needed 16 times a day by veteran families. And we’ve come to see that what we do in postvention can help in prevention and therefore eliminate the need for intervention.

What is Postvention?

A postvention is an intervention conducted after a suicide, largely taking the form of support for the bereaved (family, friends, professionals and peers). From this site, family and friends of the suicide victim may be at increased risk of suicide themselves. Postvention is a term that was first coined by Shneidman (1972), which he used to describe “appropriate and helpful acts that come after a dire event.” In Schneidman’s view, “the largest public health problem is neither the prevention of suicide nor the management of suicide attempts, but the alleviation of the effects of stress in the survivors whose lives are forever altered.”[1] Postvention is a process that has the objective of alleviating the effects of this stress and helping survivors to cope with the loss they have just experienced.

The aim is to support and debrief those affected; and reduce the possibility of copycat suicide. Interventions recognize that those bereaved by suicide may be vulnerable to suicidal behaviour themselves and may develop complicated grief reactions.

 

PTSD Teaches On Both Sides of The Tragedy

The biggest crossover lesson is that PTSD needs to be aggressively dealt with on both sides of the death. While more and more research offers hope for amazing results, we can’t wait. PTSD has a nasty way of infecting those who come in contact with it. Living with a family member who has PTSD puts everyone in that mindset. Unfortunately, when and if that person kills themselves, the PTSD doesn’t die with them. It just passes to more and more people.

Postvention starts the moment suicide prevention and intervention fail. Someone has to find the body. Someone may hear the gunshot. Someone has to call the police, deal with the coroner and the police. There are grim realities that give PTSD the opportunity to grow. 

The only good news is that the same preventative measures that can reduce or eliminate PTSD are the same ones that can be used in postvention. Here in north Florida, we are set to launch a new equine therapy for Veterans and their families with PTSD. The healing power of these strong, silent animal teachers crosses over to those in need. There’s an almost magical power that horses have. Their size and strength command respect. Their temperament commands a quiet and calm demeanor that also teaches us all a lesson in calm.

Experimental Trials Are Becoming the Norm, Not The Outlier

Finally, COVID-19 changed the rules for how fast we can come up with a medical answer for a world-wide crisis. That same lesson must be learned by our representatives when we try to attack the prevention, intervention and postvention of Veteran suicide. Getting help from concept to delivery is critical when it comes to saving lives, whether tis for a pandemic or a national crisis.

There are many options that hit the headlines that also hit the general public the wrong way. They have a hard time getting comfortable with. Too bad. Get over it and get these options in front of those most in need. If you gave a Veteran or the family who lost a Veteran a choice between something that was experimental and a prescription for the same old thing, our guess is that they know they need to try something new. As a nation fighting an unseen enemy, new thinking will help us win.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Hiring a Bio Hazard Clean-Up Company

Hiring a Bio Hazard Clean-Up Company

 Advice on How to Hire a Provider

After a Veteran suicide, the survivors must not only deal with the shock of a sudden death, but with the sad fact that the remains must go ASAP. That’s the job of the Coroner’s office who is called to the scene by the police or EMTs. They’re usually the first call. The next call should be to a bio-hazard clean-up and then your homeowners insurance agent. Here’s a list of other calls to make.

We spoke with Ginger Akemon of Bio-One Duval County, a franchise bio hazard company located in Jacksonville, Florida.

Ginger spoke with Once A Soldier about what Veteran families of suicide need to know about calling a bio-hazard company. FYI: Once A Soldier’s time of need service can also take this task on for you, as well as call funeral homes to negotiate the price so you can focus on other needs.

urn for ashes

How to Hire from a Compassionate Industry Expert

OAS: What should family or friends do when they discover the body?

Ginger: Try not to touch anything. You never know what bio-hazards the blood may contain. You need to keep yourself safe. Let the experts, the coroner for example, do their jobs the best they can by avoiding the area.

Don’t blow any fans or A/C directly in the area.

Don’t touch the blood.

Don’t clean up yourself. No one needs that trauma added on.

OAS: What questions should they ask when they call around to find help?

Ginger: First off, call at least two companies or more if you don’t find what you’re looking for in terms of price and compassion. As far as price goes, let them know that your loved one was a Veteran. If appropriate, also let them know that they had PTSD. Most in our industry will be able to offer an immediate discount. If they don’t, ask for it anyway.

On the other hand, you want the better person, not the better price, to help at a time like this. Every one is different, so you need to find your own comfort level with each.

Make sure they licensed and insured.

Make sure they don’t leave anything behind.

If you find something later, even a speck of something outside, call them if you want it gone. Get the peace of mind you deserve.

OAS: Will homeowners or renters insurance cover the cost?

Ginger: Homeowners insurance will pay but there’s probably a deductible. Some bio hazard companies will also deal with the insurance companies for you. Ask if they will. If not, you’ll have to call your insurance agent and let them know that you have a claim.

Rental insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s sad but that’s why we try to be so compassionate. We’re in this business to make a living, not make a killing.

OAS: Do they give Veterans a discount?

Ginger: We do. My dad as in the Navy for 27 years. Most will but always ask for a discount or for them to waive the deductible, A reasonable deductible of $1,000 may be waiver. A $5,000 deductible is probably not going to get waived.

OAS: What gets cleaned and what gets removed?

Ginger: Everything affected. Walls, carpet, furniture, flooring, lamps, decorations. Bio hazard companies will clean everything on site. Hard items like furniture can be cleaned and saved.

Soft items like clothing, wood and cushions probably have to go depending on how long they’ve been sitting there with the bio hazard. Soft materials will soak up odors quickly. Critters, flies and insects start to arrive as the body decomposes. Odors can affect the whole house, that’s why you want to contain the air, if possible, and not blow it around.

Flooring, carpet or tile may also need to be removed. Try to remove only what you have to and save portions of the flooring if that makes sense. It’s okay to save money!

Gingers Last Word of Advice: The sooner you call a provider. Same day is best. Emotionally, remember that you’re not to blame because this happened. This is more important later on, but reactions now stay with you.

Thanks Ginger at BioOne in Jacksonville.

Bio-Hazard Terms Defined

Biohazard –  any type of biological waste or biological agent such as a virus or a condition that constitutes a threat to humans. Biohazards must be eliminated by professionals such as Bio-One Duval County otherwise they can cause serious health effects and continuous exposure, if not properly removed and cleared of any biohazards, can be lead to long term adverse health effects of unknown occupants

Biohazardous agent – a biological agent or condition (as an infectious organism or insecure laboratory procedures) that constitutes a hazard to humans or the environment

Biohazard remediation – cleanup and disinfection of any biohazard situation, including hoarding, commercial or industrial accidents, chemical spills, or contamination scenarios

Biological waste – is any material that contains or has been contaminated by a biohazardous agent

Suicide scene clean up – cleanup of blood, other bodily fluids such as urine, and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). It is also referred to as biohazard remediation, because crime scenes are only a portion of the situations in which biohazard cleaning is needed

Clean-up operation – when hazardous substances are removed, confined, stabilized, or in any other manner; with the vital goal of making the scene safer for people or the environment

Decontamination – the removal of hazardous substances to avoid or minimize potential dangerous health effects

Facility – any building or structure

Hazardous materials response (HAZMAT) – organized group of trained professionals, who handle and control actual or potential leakages or spills of hazardous substances; quite often requiring being very close to the substance

Infectious agent – something that invades another living thing (like a virus to a human). When an infectious agent “hitches a ride”, the “driver” officially become an infected host. There are four main classes of infectious agents: bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites

Trauma – a deeply disturbing or distressing experience or physical injury

 

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Meet Our Families

 

 

 

They come from all over the USA and we invite you to meet these brave families.