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Addressing suicide risk in partners and relatives bereaved by suicide

  • Alexandra Pitman (a1)
Summary

Analyses of population-based registers provide evidence to support an increased risk of suicide and mental illness after the suicide of a relative or partner. This editorial explores the implications of this work for progressing recommendations made in suicide prevention strategies regarding the specific support provided to people bereaved by suicide.

Declaration of interest

A.P. served on the Public Health England expert reference committee contributing to local guidance on commissioning and delivering postvention support (Public Health England, 2016. Support After a Suicide: A Guide to Providing Local Services) and has submitted applications for funding to investigate mediators of suicide risk after suicide bereavement. Since writing this article she has become a Patron of the Support After Suicide Partnership.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence: Alexandra Pitman, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, Maple House, 149 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7NF. Email: a.pitman@ucl.ac.uk
References
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1Garssen, J, Deerenberg, I, Mackenbach, JP, Kerkhof, A, Kunst, AE. Familial risk of early suicide: variations by age and sex of children and parents. Suicide Life Threat Behav 2011; 41: 585–93.
2Agerbo, E. Midlife suicide risk, partner's psychiatric illness, spouse and child bereavement by suicide or other modes of death: a gender specific study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2005; 59: 407–12.
3Erlangsen, A, Runeson, B, Bolton, JM, Wilcox, HC, Forman, JL, Krogh, J, et al. Association between spousal suicide and mental, physical, and social health outcomes: a longitudinal and nationwide register-based study. JAMA Psychiatry 2017; 74: 456–64.
4Qin, P, Mortensen, P. The impact of parental status on the risk of completed suicide. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2003; 60: 797802.
5McDaid, C, Trowman, R, Golder, S, Hawton, K, Sowden, A. Interventions for people bereaved through suicide: systematic review. Br J Psychiatry 2008; 193: 438–43.
6Boelen, PA, Smid, GE. Disturbed grief: prolonged grief disorder and persistent complex bereavement disorder. BMJ 2017; 357: j2016.
7Bolton, JM, Au, W, Leslie, WD, Martens, PJ, Enns, MW, Roos, LL, et al. Parents bereaved by offspring suicide: a population-based longitudinal case-control study. JAMA Psychiatry 2013; 70: 158–67.
8Pitman, AL, Rantell, K, Moran, P, Sireling, L, Marston, L, King, M, et al. Support received after bereavement by suicide and other sudden deaths: a cross-sectional UK study of 3432 young bereaved adults. BMJ Open 2017; 7: e014487.
9Department of Health Preventing Suicide in England: Third Progress Report of the Cross-Government Outcomes Strategy to Save Lives. Department of Health, 2017.
10de Groot, M, Kollen, BJ. Course of bereavement over 8–10 years in first degree relatives and spouses of people who committed suicide: longitudinal community based cohort study. BMJ 2013; 347: f5519.
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Addressing suicide risk in partners and relatives bereaved by suicide

  • Alexandra Pitman (a1)
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