University of Surrey
After Them

University of Surrey

After Them is a short documentary following participants from a University of Surrey study identifying the impact on and support needs of NHS staff following a colleague’s suicide in order to inform postvention guidance.

The film was commissioned by the research team in order to optimise the study's knowledge dissemination. The film's Twitter teaser received over 50,000 views within 72 hours of launch and was shared by prominent authorities in the sector such as Dr Adam Kay and the British Psychological Society.


Between 2016 and 2019, the latest year in which data are available, an average of 10.6 people died by suicide for every 100,000 people in England and Wales; 23,687 people in total. Amongst health professionals, the suicide rate is 24% higher than the national average, largely explained by the increased risk of suicide of female nurses, male paramedics and female doctors. Suicide amongst female nurses is four times higher than the national average. Those affected by suicide are at greater risk of mental ill health and suicide attempt themselves.

Past research shows that if people affected by suicide receive support early on, it can help them come to terms with their loss and reduce the risk of further mental health problems and suicide. This is called postvention. It is therefore important that NHS staff receive the best support at the right time.

The full impact of experiencing a suicide on staff who work in health settings is unknown and there is currently no postvention guidance or benchmark standard to assist NHS organisations or managers to support staff. Our research will address the gap in knowledge by using the experiences of staff to build a better understanding of postvention need.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: