By Frank Campbell, Ph.D., LCSW, C.T., developer of the LOSS team concept and the Active Postvention Model (APM)
The Active Postvention Model (APM) was designed to complement the services provided at the scene of a suicide by adding a new team of first responders (see figure 1).
Figure 1: a flow chart of the APM
This was due to years of not being able to facilitate service referral by the traditional first responders (law enforcement, emergency medical services, coroners, and other first response professionals). First responders are professionally trained to provide specific services at each scene and our efforts to add the new task of referral to our services when attending a suicide scene was not possible to successfully integrate.
In 1997, as President of the American Association of Suicidology, Campbell presented the Active Postvention Model (Campbell, F.R. Changing the Legacy of Suicide, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, vol. 27, No. 4 winter, 1997) in an effort to find other communities interested in this approach. Following the conference Campbell returned to his community of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and began training the first LOSS Team in anticipation of being able to convince the coroner to allow the team to be utilized as a first response resource for the purpose of reducing the length of time between death and finding help for the newly bereaved. The team began in 1998 and after more than twelve years the elapsed time between referral and seeking help has remained less than sixty days for all those who received a loss call. Prior to the loss team the average length of time was 4.5 years in the same community.
Since 1998 the APM concept and LOSS Teams have been developed across the United States and internationally in diverse communities from Singapore to Northern Ireland. For communities that are interested in knowing more or creating capacity for Postvention services in their community please go to www.lossteam.com for additional information on this concept.