Exploration of the Lived Experience of Individuals Following Suicide of a Family Member

Introduction: Data show that the death of a person due to suicide affects all family members. Aim: Exploration of the lived experience of individuals following suicide of a family member, focused on their meanings and interpretations regarding: (a) the effects of suicide on them and (b) the support they received. Material-Method: A systematic review in PubMed, Medline, PsychInfo, Googlescholar took place. The following key words were used: "family", “family members”, "lived experience", "suicide", "qualitative studies", “bereavement”, “completed suicide”. The following inclusion criteria were applied: (a) publication in the Greek and English language, (b) qualitative design, aiming to explore the lived experience of individuals, relative of whom committed suicide, (c) publication date from 2000 to 2016. Results: The search returned four studies. Sadness, guilt, anger, shame and social isolation due to the suicide-related social stigma were described as the main consequences for the participants in the studies reviewed. An ongoing strive for interpretation of the suicide, followed by adverse feelings due to unanswered questions was repeatedly described. Although family members seemed to be strongly affected by the suicide, at the same time described an effort to return to their normal life. Furthermore, the main sources of support described encompassed other family members, friends, the church and mental health professionals. Conclusions: Suicide by an individual is a "traumatic" experience for his/her family members, followed by a prolonged period of mourning. Proposed interventions include support during bereavement focused on the process of meaningful interpretation of the committed suicide, as well as lessening the social stigma of suicide.

Category: Volume 55, N 4
Hits: 1029 Hits
Created Date: 15-12-2016
Authors: Rafailia Zavrou , Maria Karanikola , Evridiki Papastavrou