Social Reactions After Disclosing Suicide Loss Among Women.
Mayer L., Puschner N., Votruba N., Rüsch N., Oexle N.
Background: Suicide loss is often concealed. While initial evidence suggests that disclosure is important for healthy grieving, observed beneficial effects may depend on social reactions. Aim: The current study aimed to identify social reactions and associated consequences experienced by persons who lost a loved one to suicide (i.e., suicide loss survivors). Method: We conducted qualitative interviews with 22 female adult suicide loss survivors focusing on social reactions after suicide loss. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results: When talking about their loss with others, suicide loss survivors experienced a broad range of social reactions including compassionate and supportive responses, speechlessness and insecurity, curiosity and gossip, stigmatization, and grieving expectations. Depending on these social reactions, disclosing suicide loss was associated with both negative and positive long-term effects. Limitations: The findings are limited to the current female sample. Conclusion: Interventions that help suicide loss survivors in finding supportive confidants, combined with public interventions to decrease public suicide stigma and improve the public's readiness to provide helpful support to suicide loss survivors, could improve grieving outcomes among this group.