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Support Needs and Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide: Qualitative Findings from a Cross-Sectional British Study of Bereaved Young Adults

UCL Division of Psychiatry, University College London, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7NF, UK
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, St Pancras Hospital, London NW1 0PE, UK
North East London NHS Foundation Trust, Memory Service, Broad Street Health Centre, Morland Road, Dagenham, Essex RM10 9HU, UK
UGM Faculty of Psychology, Jl. Sosio Humaniora 1, Sleman, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia
UCL Research Department of Primary Care & Population Health, Rowland Hill St, London NW3 2PF, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 666;
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 29 March 2018 / Accepted: 29 March 2018 / Published: 3 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Suicide Research)
PDF [397 KB, uploaded 3 May 2018]


People bereaved by suicide are at increased risk of suicide, but evidence is lacking that available interventions reduce suicide risk. Few large-scale studies have described the views of suicide-bereaved people regarding their needs for support. Our objective was to explore the nature of young adults’ experiences of support after bereavement by suicide and their views on valued and unhelpful aspects. We conducted a cross-sectional study of staff and students aged 18–40 at 37 United Kingdom (UK) higher educational institutions in 2010, eliciting qualitative responses to two questions probing experiences of support and unmet needs after the suicide of a close contact. We conducted thematic analysis of responses from 420 adults bereaved by suicide, of whom 75% had received support after the loss. We identified three broad descriptive areas corresponding to important aspects of support: value and experiences of the support received; views on specific support needs; and reasons for not seeking support. We found that needs for emotional support exist throughout the social networks of people who die by suicide but are often hidden. Our findings suggest a need for proactive offers of support from family, friends, and professionals after suicide, repeated regularly in case a bereaved person does not feel ready for support early on. View Full-Text
Keywords: suicide; bereavement; support; grief; unmet needs; qualitative research suicide; bereavement; support; grief; unmet needs; qualitative research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Pitman, A.; De Souza, T.; Khrisna Putri, A.; Stevenson, F.; King, M.; Osborn, D.; Morant, N. Support Needs and Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide: Qualitative Findings from a Cross-Sectional British Study of Bereaved Young Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 666.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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