"It's a living experience": bereavement by suicide in later life

Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Jeffrey Hanna, Evan Grant, Lesley Ryder-Davies, Nicola Cogan, Jolie Goodman, Susan Rasmussen, Sophie Martin

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Abstract

Bereavement by suicide for people in later life is significantly under-researched. Research on ageing and suicide has yet to address the experiences of those bereaved by suicide and how such a devastating loss affects the ageing experience. Objectives: We explored the substantive issues involved in bereavement by suicide and its impact on later life. Methods: This was a co-produced qualitative study. Peer researchers with lived experience conducted in-depth interviews with twenty-four people aged 60–92 years. A phenomenological approach informed the data analysis. Main Findings: Themes described included (1) moral injury and trauma; (2) the rippling effect on wider family and networks; (3) transitions and adaptations of bereaved people and how their ‘living experi-ence’ impacted on ageing. Conclusions: It is important to understand how individual experiences of suicide intersect with ageing and the significance of targeted assessment and intervention for those bereaved by suicide in ageing policies and support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7217
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • suicide
  • ageing
  • later life
  • suicide prevention
  • moral injury
  • trauma
  • peer support

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