Family Needs Following The Suicide Of A Child

The role of the helping professions

Authored by: David Miers , Paul R. Springer , Douglas Abbott

Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415530125
eBook ISBN: 9780203795583
Adobe ISBN: 9781134459292

10.4324/9780203795583.ch25

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Abstract

While suicide and suicide prevention are an important focus of training for mental health providers, little is done to prepare clinicians in working with family members who have survived the suicide of a loved one. In fact, Edwin Shneidman, PhD, the founding President of the American Association of Suicidology stated that survivors of suicide (e.g., family members or friends) represent the largest mental health casualties related to suicide (American Association of Suicidology, 2011). It is estimated that for every suicide there are at least six family members who are left behind to pick up the pieces (American Association of Suicidology, 2011). This equates to over 6 million American survivors in the last 25 years. It is important to understand the impact that suicide has on survivors. Clearly, more needs to be learned about survivors' experiences after a loss of a child, especially given the literature that states that survivors are at an increased risk for suicide (Runeson & Asberg, 2003). However, without effective intervention and support from helping professionals, many families will continue to suffer in silence.

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