The Role of Social Work in Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention: A Scoping Review

Myfanwy Maple, Tania Pearce, Rebecca L. Sanford, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Social workers frequently encounter those affected by suicide. However, the social work voice on suicide has been relatively absent from the literature. This scoping review aimed to map the contribution social work research has made to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. Two hundred and forty-one papers on suicide authored by social workers were identified. Results demonstrate that explanatory research remains the primary mode of scientific inquiry in suicide research undertaken by social workers, with fewer descriptive and control articles. There remains a dearth of social work research dedicated to suicide in indigenous populations, postvention knowledge, and suicide and stigma. Future social work research should pursue a greater contribution to the primary prevention literature by evaluating programs and interventions. Working with those who are suicidal or the bereaved by suicide is important for informing social work practice in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Australian Association of Social Workers.


  • Intervention
  • Postvention
  • Prevention
  • Scoping Review
  • Social Work
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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