The death of a child by suicide is a severe trauma, placing parents at greater risk of psychological morbidity and physical health problems compared to other causes of death. However, few studies have examined the aftermath and bereavement experience for parents following the death of a child to suicide, limiting the ability to guide effective postvention services through empirical research. The current study, which was part of a larger longitudinal investigation of suicide bereavement in Queensland, Australia, examined the individual experiences of both mothers and fathers bereaved by suicide over time, specifically at the six month and 12 month time points after their loss. Bereaved parents who had provided written consent to be contacted for research purposes were identified through the Queensland Suicide Register, and took part in individual, semi-structured interviews. Generic qualitative analysis identified three key themes: searching for answers and sense-making, coping strategies and support, and finding meaning and purpose. Some participants showed indications of meaning-making and post-traumatic growth at 12 months after the suicide. According to the dual process model of bereavement, it is likely that participants were still oscillating between sense-making and meaning making, indicating that adapting to bereavement is a dynamic and fluctuating process.
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