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The burden of living with and caring for a suicidal family member

McLaughlin, Columba, McGowan, Iain, O'Neill, Siobhan and Kernohan, George (2014) The burden of living with and caring for a suicidal family member. Journal of Mental Health, 23 (5). pp. 236-240. [Journal article]

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URL: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.3109/09638237.2014.928402

DOI: 10.3109/09638237.2014.928402

Abstract

Background: The family has a primary role in caring for family members who are suicidal and in the prevention of future suicide. However, the impact that suicidal behaviour has on these family members is poorly understood. Aim: To explore the lived experiences of participants who cared for suicidal family members.Method: Eighteen participants were interviewed using a short topic guide. Responses were digitally recorded and transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis.Results: One overarching theme: 'Hard work for the whole family' and four sub themes: i) Family burden, ii) competing pressures, iii) secrecy and shame and iv) helplessness and guilt. Conclusions: Caring for a suicidal family member may be euphemistically summarised as ‘hard work’ that impacts heavily on the day to day tasks of other family members. Participants spent much time worrying and ruminating about the risk of suicide in their family member. Mental health care professionals ought to acknowledge and address the impact that suicidal behaviour has on family carers.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Suicide, suicidal behaviour, mental health, impact, burden on family members, informal carers.
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Nursing
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Psychology
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute of Nursing and Health Research
Psychology Research Institute
Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Managing Chronic Illness Research Centre
Psychology Research Institute > Psychotraumatology, Mental Health & Suicidal Behaviour
ID Code:31728
Deposited By: Dr Columba McLaughlin
Deposited On:02 Jun 2015 08:58
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 12:44

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