Suicide and Drug Overdose Deaths: How Postvention is Prevention

Tanya Carter, B.A.; Minnesota Department of Health - Behavioral Health Care Liaison

Kate Erickson, M.S.W.; Minnesota Department of Health - Opioid Overdose Prevention Director

1.5 Continuing Education Credits

Summary Statement: No provider wants to think about one of his or her patients dying. Unfortunately, they need to be prepared for how to effectively respond to promote healing and recovery after a client’s death by suicide or overdose - known as postvention. Given that rural areas have a higher rate of suicide than urban areas, this presentation will discuss postvention: how it is an effective suicide prevention strategy, how it can be used in a behavioral health organization to respond within the agency, and how the framework may be useful in response to overdose deaths.  Especially for providers and communities that may be experiencing multiple trauma or several deaths in a limited time period. We will also discuss the importance of self-care as providers.

Learning Objective 1: Participants will  be able to list the key features of postvention.
Learning Objective 2: Participants will describe the commonalities of postvention work with suicide and drug overdose deaths.
Learning Objective 3: Participants will utilize post-traumatic growth while working through traumatic experiences both personally and professionally.

Intermediate Level


 Tanya Carter, B.A.

Tanya Carter is the Behavioral Health Care Liaison for the Minnesota Department of Health.
Ms. Carter has extensive experience in community education programs, program development, and crisis intervention. She is passionate about suicide prevention and reducing the stigma related to mental illness. In Ms. Carter’s previous position, she provided mental health crisis coordination as well as coordinated suicide prevention efforts for the White Earth Reservation and throughout Becker County in Minnesota. Ms. Carter earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Child and Family Studies from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.


 Kate Erickson, M.S.W.

Kate Erickson is the Opioid Overdose Prevention Director for the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).  Prior to working at the MDH, Erickson worked in community health centers (FQHCs) and with an accountable care organization (ACO) as the Integrated Care Program Manager, running programs in care coordination, chemical health, advocacy services, and behavioral health integration.  Erickson’s work includes improving chronic pain management and opioid prescribing guidelines, as well as launching clinic-based buprenorphine programs.  Erickson brings more than 15 years of experience in community organizing, strategic planning, program development, group facilitation, staff supervision, advocacy, and teaching.