Siblings After Suicide-“The Forgotten Bereaved”

Center for Crisis Psychology, Bergen, Norway.
Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (Impact Factor: 1.4). 01/2006; 35(6):714-24. DOI: 10.1521/suli.2005.35.6.714
Source: PubMed


There is scarce research on "the forgotten bereaved"--the children and adolescents who lose a sibling by suicide. In this paper we explore their psychosocial situation and needs for assistance through a Norwegian nationwide study. The results show that particularly younger bereaved siblings are suffering from posttraumatic and grief reactions, depression, and anxiety. Most of the difficulties are not individual, but rather relational and social in nature, and largely contextually dependent. Necessary help is impeded due to the extraordinary experience leaving the siblings outside the circle of friends and parental grief community. A systematic outreach help program is presented.

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Available from: Atle Dyregrov, Dec 06, 2014
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    • "They will resist any volunteer, not giving the adult world a second chance if once they decide to seal their lips. Parents who have lost a child to suicide are often devastated for a long time having a reduced capacity to care for siblings who, therefore, need attention and support from resources outside the family [26]. The help needs to be directed as direct help to siblings and parents, as well as to the family as a whole [26]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of family reactions following teenage suicide are hampered by the psychological difficulties of approaching families and recruiting an unbiased sample of study subjects. By using a small but consecutive series of cases, we examined the qualitative aspects of loosing a teenage family member due to suicide. Such an understanding is important for future organisation of proper programs that provide professional support in the grief process. From a large project on teenage unnatural death in northern Sweden 1981-2000 (including 88 suicides), 13 cases from 1995 through 1998 were retrospectively identified and consecutively analysed. Ten families agreed to participate. The open interviews took place 15 to 25 months after the suicide. The information gathered was manually analysed according to a grounded theory model, resulting in allocation of data into one of three domains: post-suicidal reactions, impact on daily living, and families' need for support. Teenager suicide is a devastating trauma for the surviving family and the lack of sustainable explanations for the suicide is a predominant issue in the grief process. The prolonged social and psychological isolation of the families in grief should be challenged. At the time of the interview, the families were still struggling with explaining why the suicide occurred, especially since most suicides had occurred without overt premonitory signs. The bereaved family members were still profoundly affected by the loss, but all had returned to an ostensibly normal life. Post-suicide support was often badly timed and insufficient, especially for younger siblings. Family doctors can organise a long-term, individually formulated support scheme for the bereaved, including laymen who can play a most significant role in the grief process. There is also a need for better understanding of the families who have lost a teenager whom committed suicide and for the development and testing of treatment schemes for the bereaved family.
    BMC Psychiatry 02/2008; 8(1):26. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-8-26 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Engelbrekt (2005a, 2005b) har saerskilt analysert unges reaksjoner i møte med foreldres livstruende sykdom og død. Dyregrov & Dyregrov (2005) har fokusert etterlatte søsken etter suicid. "
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