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Our work is dedicated to understanding the experience of traumatic bereavement and how we, as helping professionals, can best assist mourners along their journey. 

Each year in the United States, nearly 110,000 people die due to suicide or drug-related overdose (CDC, 2016).  As a result, millions of new survivors of traumatic loss will attempt to adapt to life in the wake of a loved one's absence. Beyond these modes of loss, countless others will grapple with the unexpected or tragically abrupt death of someone close, such as in the case of car accidents or sudden fatal heart attacks. Although formal and informal support exists to assist mourners following traumatic loss, these forms of support and the impact they may have on grief have yet to be examined scientifically. It is essential that the needs of traumatic loss survivors be examined in closer detail, to clarify whether or not these needs are met through the variety of venues available to survivors. This online, longitudinal study seeks to clarify the needs of survivors of suicide, fatal drug overdoses, or other traumatic losses, how these needs are met, if at all, through numerous avenues of support, and to identify the most helpful forms of support for this clinically neglected population. 

What is the STL Project?

The STL Project is a longitudinal online mixed methods study. Simply put, this means that the study will ask volunteers to share their experience by answering a series of surveys that include closed- and open-ended questions every six months for 18 months. The study is entirely online, so participants can respond to questions from the comfort of their home computer or laptop. 

Your participation will undoubtedly go a long way. Although specific benefits from participation cannot be guaranteed, the information and wisdom we gather from you will assist researchers and clinicians with better understanding the experience of traumatic loss, the specific needs of this neglected population, and the forms of support that best aid with adaptation to loss--knowledge that currently does not exist.

How you can help...

Volunteer to be a participant in the STL Project. 

If you:

  • Are at least 18 years of age

  • Have lost a loved/significant other in the last 5 years who was no older than 65 years old

Why You should Volunteer...

Little information is known about how to best support the bereaved. This is especially true for those who lose a loved one to traumatic means, such as suicide or drug-related overdose. By volunteering to participate in this study, your experience will help to identify the things that mourners need most. With this information, we can finally identify what needs mourners have, what forms of support are available to them, and how these forms of support meet or fail to meet the needs of the bereaved, which, in turn, help mourners adapt to life in the absence of their loved one. 

The STL Project is a nationally-sponsored study and is the first of its kind. By volunteering today, you will undoubtedly help countless others who will, unfortunately, experience the traumatic death of a loved one within their lifetime. 

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