Youth suicide bereavement and the continuum of risk

McKay, Kathy, Bartik, Warren John and Maple, Myfanwy (2020) Youth suicide bereavement and the continuum of risk. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 41 (6). ISSN 0227-5910

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Background: There is limited research investigating the risks for young friends exposed to the suicide of peers. Aims: This study aimed to better understand the impact of suicide bereavement on rural young people. Method: Participants in this a mixed-method study were 18 young people who had been exposed to a friend's suicide and who resided in rural Australia. Quantitative data were analyzed with SPSS and qualitative data were analyzed thematically. Results: Participants reported high levels of depression, anxiety, and alcohol use. Key themes were communication about the death, responses to the death, and coping with the death. Young people identified as close friends with the person who died were at less risk of their own suicidal behavior, but demonstrated increased mental health concerns. More peripheral friends were identified at greater risk of suicide. Limitations: The limitations of the study were the purposeful sampling open to selection bias, lack of randomization, and results from one point in time. Conclusion: These findings support that guidelines and interventions following a youth suicide need to better target both the peripheral friends, owing to their greater suicide risk, and the closer friends, owing to other mental health concerns.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Research & Development Unit
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Suicide
Department/People: Special Units

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