October 31, 2017 – Dr. William Feigelman and his colleagues recently published an article in the Journal of Affective Disorders that offers important new findings on the extent of suicide bereavement among American adults. An in-person General Social Survey found that over half of respondents (51 percent) of a nationally representative sample had exposure to one suicide or more during their lifetime. Furthermore, a full third (35 percent) experienced moderate to severe emotional distress related to their loss.
The experience of suicide loss and bereavement is more prevalent among the US population than most realize. Previous studies demonstrate that suicide loss survivors are likely to experience significant health problems; this new data suggests that large numbers of suicide loss-survivors are in need of mental health services and support.
Perhaps the knowledge of how common the experience of suicide survivorship is could help decrease the sense of isolation and stigma many loss survivors experience. Knowing that they are not alone – that their experience of this type of loss is far from rare—could encourage more people who have lost a loved one to suicide to speak more openly about their loss, and connect with others who have also experienced this type of loss. The knowledge about prevalence and impact could also lead to greater sophistication among healthcare providers, clergy and other community members, so that enhanced support for suicide loss could become much more available.
To read more about the study, click here.
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