The following components are essential when conducting personal and professional interviews (regarding a death by suicide) for the Psychological Autopsy/Course Project section of the course.   

  • Timing of interviews following the Decedent’s death 
  • Planning and organizing the flow of interviews 
  • Interviewee selection (e.g., family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.) 
  • Incorporating collected data (e.g., interviews, police reports, autopsies, etc.) (Conner, Beautrais, Brent, Conwell, Phillips, & Schneider, 2012). 

The idea is to get a well-rounded vantage point of the suicide. Everyone will have a slightly different view of the Decedent’s life, behaviors, personality, actions, interactions, etc. Some will have more pieces of this puzzle, some less, and some none. It is through gathering, deciphering, and understanding these pieces that a clearer picture will emerge.  

Additional resources


Werlang, B. & Botega, N. (2003). A semi-structured interview for psychological autopsy in suicide cases. Revista brasileira de psiquiatria 

(São Paulo, Brazil : 1999). 25. 212-9. 10.1590/S1516-44462003000400006.


Conner, K. R., Beautrais, A. L., Brent, D. A., Conwell, Y., Phillips, M. R., & Schneider, B. (2012). The next generation of psychological

autopsy studies: Part 2. Interview procedures. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior,

42(1), 86–103.