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Left Behind: How Family Members Make Sense of Suicide

Article / Review by on March 7, 2011 – 9:52 pmNo Comments

Left Behind: How Family Members Make Sense of Suicide

How Family Members Make Sense of Suicide

When a loved one commits suicide, uncertainties abound.

Many wonder: Was the suicide a selfish act – or an act of desperation? And should loved ones treat it – and grieve it – the same way they would any other premature death or loss?

Worse, to add worry to the mix of emotions: Can the depression that led to the suicide be inherited? And if so, to what extent does it run in families?

With the stigma and silence surrounding mental health issues, it can be difficult for families to find the strength, support and straight answers they need to properly heal. To help, this week we’re sharing an interview featuring expert Dr. Yeates Conwell, who has studied suicide and suicide prevention for much of his career and is well-aware of the complicated and exhausting grief that often follows such acts (or attempts).

The interview — conducted by a radio program called Viewpoints, and which aired on more than 300 stations across the country — explores how suicide affects families. You can hear Dr. Conwell’s insightful comments via this link . (Please note: Scroll down to click the red “PROGRAM” link. The player will bring up a recording of the Viewpoints show in its entirety; Conwell’s interview begins about a minute or two into the program.  This interview was produced by MediaTracks Communications.)

Conwell is vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry, and co-director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition to teaching and clinical care, he directs a multi-disciplinary program of research in suicidal prevention, with a special emphasis on later life. In May, he will receive the 2011 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Research Award for his work on suicide in the elderly.

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*  The above story is adapted from materials provided by University of Rochester Medical Center

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University of Rochester Medical Center

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