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WHAT IS A LOSS TEAM AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
LOSS – Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors – is an active postvention model. This model involves two or more volunteers, called a LOSS Team, proactively going to the scene of a suicide to provide immediate support to those left behind.
A LOSS Team is made up of trained suicide loss survivors, and sometimes other concerned community members, that go to the scene of a suicide to support those left behind. The LOSS Team members are there in a volunteer capacity.
The LOSS Team model was originally created by Dr. Frank Campbell at the Baton Rouge Crisis and Trauma Center in 1999. Dr. Campbell identified that it was taking loss survivors an average of more than 4 years before they reached out for support.
A LOSS Team at the scene of a suicide provides loss survivors with practical support and a connection to resources. But, most importantly, they provide an instillation of hope.
Having someone who has lost a loved one to suicide introduce themselves, who is dressed, functioning, and in a position to attend to a newly bereaved person, plants seeds of hope. By simply saying, “I lost a loved one to suicide,” a volunteer gives permission for the newly bereaved to use the word suicide.