Suicide bereavement in the UK: Descriptive findings from a national survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Shirley Smith
  • Barry McGale

Abstract

Background
Those bereaved by suicide are a high-risk group of adverse health outcomes and suicidal behavior, yet little is known about the experiences and support needs of these individuals in the UK.

Methods
We conducted a national cross-sectional study using an online survey and analyzed the experiences of 7158 participants who had been bereaved or affected by suicide.

Results
Suicide had a major impact on 77% of participants, including those who had lost a friend and those exposed to suicide at a professional level. Mental and physical health problems linked to the suicide were reported in half. Adverse social outcomes and engaging in high-risk behaviors following the suicide were common. Over a third reported suicidal ideation and 8% had attempted suicide as a direct result of the suicide loss. Most had not accessed support services, with the majority viewing provision of local suicide bereavement support as inadequate.

Conclusions
Our results highlight the need for a multi-disciplinary approach in postvention and the provision of proactive outreach to support those bereaved by suicide. Postvention efforts need to acknowledge the death of a friend by suicide as a significant loss.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalSuicide and Life-Threatening Behavior
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2022