Psychological autopsies

Rooted in Scientific Evidence, Aiming to Provide Answers

The Minnesota Center of Suicidology has staff certified in the practice of psychological autopsy (PA). The PA is an investigative process gathers and analyzes facts and data surrounding the death of your loved one within a scientifically tested methodology. The result of the PA can clear up issues where the manner of death was ambiguous. In cases where the manner is not in question, the PA can help to "paint a picture" of the events leading up to the loved one's passing and may provide some answers to survivor's questions.

The PA process is anonymous in that information is de-identified. Results are first released directly to the client who commissioned the PA. We ask for permission to present and use non-identifying information, including full reports, at conferences, in research, and at other educational forums.  Non-identifying information may also be provided to the American Association of Suicidology, which expands the research on suicide and helps to develop strategies for recognizing suicidal intent and prevention of suicide. Under no circumstance is any identifying information shared with anyone outside of the organization and the AAS without express permission.

Not everyone is interested in a psychological autopsy--perhaps they feel have an adequate grasp of the perfect storm that resulted in the suicide of their loved one.They may, however, have questions surrounding the physical dying process; most specifically whether death was gradual or instantaneous, if pain was experienced, or what the actual physiological mechanism of death was. For people who are in need of this information to work through the grieving process, the Center is capable of reviewing the medical examiner report/autopsy and any patient care reports (hospital and/or ambulance) to render educated opinions. The client must provide all applicable reports to be reviewed. Please be aware that opinions are honest and, like psychological autopsy results, may be disquieting.