press release
Published: 18 July 2023

After Them: Postvention in the NHS

Applied health researchers at The University of Surrey have released a short film exploring the impact and support needs of NHS workers after the death of a colleague by suicide.

Entitled ‘After Them’ the film captures the stories of NHS workers from across the UK who have faced the aftermath of a colleague's suicide. Through their first-hand accounts, viewers gain an unfiltered glimpse into the challenges and emotional toll experienced by workers impacted by the suicides and those supporting other staff following the deaths.


The film was produced as part of a nationwide study, funded by National Institute for Health Research, Health Service and Delivery Research, to understand the impact of a colleague’s suicide on NHS staff and their support needs, in order to inform postvention guidance.


Chief investigator and applied medical sociologist Dr Ruth Riley explains:


“With office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealing that healthcare professionals face a 24% higher suicide risk than the national average, those affected by another person’s suicide are at greater risk of mental ill health and suicide attempt themselves. Together, the research and documentary illustrate a pressing need for change within the NHS. 


Dr Riley and her team have already used qualitative methodology to study the intersection of work cultures and mental health within the NHS; the research team will be releasing their evidence-based NHS postvention guidelines on 25 July to the study’s webpage.


Dr Riley continued: “The film sensitively documents the experiences and profound emotional impact of NHS staff suicide on their colleagues, highlighting what has helped and hindered them when processing their grief.”



Additional resources:

Documentary film:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health

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