Why suicide loss is different for the survivors

Edward J Dunne and Karen Dunne-Maxim

in Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570059
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Why suicide loss is different for the survivors

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People who are bereaved by suicide are confronted with a number of unique circumstances which hold the potential for complicating or even completely derailing their recovery process. First, they must work through the considerable stigma, which still surrounds this type of death. This chapter examines some of the historical and contemporary manifestations of societal reactions to death by suicide as a way of establishing a background for understanding the aspects of suicide bereavement, which distinguish it from other types of bereavement. These reactions are described based on the authors’ work with more than 2000 survivors over the past 25 years. Not all survivors experience all of these reactions, and the intensity of the reactions will differ for each individual and even over time for the same individual. Yet, their common appearance in many survivors warrants special attention to them as a way of understanding the grieving process of those bereaved by suicide. Particular attention is paid to the tasks of the treating clinician when intervention is initiated. They are directed specifically at stigma reduction as a means of avoiding complicated mourning as well as familial discord. The chapter also draws attention to the special needs of young children who survive a loved one’s suicide.

Chapter.  3910 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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