CHILD SUICIDE: FAMILY’S REACTIONS
Introduction: Suicide is a major public health problem, in which relatives play an important role in the prevention of the said problem. However, suicide and suicidal behavior affect the relatives’ lives profoundly, both emotionally and socially.
Aim: This study is an initial investigation of families’ emotional and behavioral responses to adolescents’ suicide
Methodology: An extensive literary review of relevant articles for the period 2000-2017, was performed using Medline, PubMed and Google databases, with the following key words: “child suicide, parent’s reactions, bereavement, risk factors, warnings sign, and mental health problems”.
Results: Suicide is uncommon in childhood but becomes an extremely serious issue among adolescents. Several risk factors have been identified and include the presence of psychiatric illness, a previous suicide attempt, family factors, substance abuse, sexual and physical abuse, or bullying. The death of a child of any age is extremely painful for parents. Most parents experience a profound sense of guilt, shame, pain, depression when harm comes to their child, even if through no fault of their own. The same feelings are often present and are associated with help seeking in siblings bereaved by suicide. All of these factors lead to a devastating grief that is much longer lasting than most people realize.
Conclusion: Families that have experienced a suicide present severe prolonged grief with many psychological and physical symptoms such as depression, feelings of guilt, shame, pain, heart failure, hypertension, diabetes. However, the psychosocial impact on families is a very important issue who needs further investigation.
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