Nav: Home

GPs' uncertainty at dealing with those bereaved by suicide revealed

August 15, 2016

Interviews carried out by The University of Manchester with GPs of parents whose children have died by suicide have revealed a lack of knowledge and confidence on how best to respond to and support those bereaved.

The new study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, explored GPs' experiences and perceived needs (emotional, practical and training) when caring for parents bereaved by suicide.

The study was led by the University of Manchester in collaboration with Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, and funded by the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) programme. They recruited parents whose adult children (aged between 18-35 years) had died by suicide between 2002 and 2012 to identify their experiences and perceived needs.

With the parents' consent, the research team interviewed their GP to identify their experiences and perceived needs caring for the bereaved parents. Thirteen GPs were recruited to the study.

Those bereaved by suicide are also significantly at risk of dying by suicide and an important focus of government strategy to help reduce the suicide rate amongst this vulnerable population. Those who have lost love ones struggle to cope and often feel isolated, stigmatised and unsupported. The bereavement has a serious effect on their own mental health and as a result many people turn to their GPs in the first instance.

The interviews revealed that the GPs know this to be the case but as non-specialists, needed support to deal with the difficulties these patients face. They were sometimes personally affected by the suicide of a patient as well and this impacted on their ability to work with the parents.

Dr McDonnell specialises in suicide bereavement research and as a result of this work her research team has designed training for primary care practitioners, such as GPs.

Bereaved families contributed their stories for use in the training which has been very well evaluated. Dr McDonnell is hoping to open this out across the UK.

Findings in this study have also informed the development of the first evidence-based suicide bereavement training internationally which guides health professionals on how to respond to and care for parents bereaved by suicide.

Dr McDonnell added: "This study has advanced our understanding of the vulnerability and perceived needs of GPs caring for parents bereaved by suicide. Findings have the potential to inform policy and practice."
-end-


University of Manchester

Related Mental Health Articles:

Food insecurity can affect your mental health
Food insecurity (FI) affects nearly 795 million people worldwide. Although a complex phenomenon encompassing food availability, affordability, utilization, and even the social norms that define acceptable ways to acquire food, FI can affect people's health beyond its impact on nutrition.
Climate change's toll on mental health
When people think about climate change, they probably think first about its effects on the environment, and possibly on their physical health.
Quantifying nature's mental health benefits
The BioScience Talks podcast features discussions of topical issues related to the biological sciences.
Sexism may be harmful to men's mental health
Men who see themselves as playboys or as having power over women are more likely to have psychological problems than men who conform less to traditionally masculine norms, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.
Mental health matters
UCSB researchers study the effectiveness of an innovative program designed to help youth learn about mental health.
Could mental math boost emotional health?
Engaging the brain's dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DL-PFC) while doing mental math may be connected with better emotional health, according to Duke researchers.
Program will train mental health providers, improve health care in rural Missouri
A new graduate education program at the University of Missouri has received nearly $700,000 from the Health Resources and Services Administration in the US Department of Health and Human Services to train psychology doctoral candidates in integrated, primary health care settings, in an effort to improve health care for underserved populations with mental health and physical disorders.
Loss of employer-based health insurance in early retirement affects mental, physical health
The loss of private health insurance from an employer can lead to poorer mental and physical health as older adults transition to early retirement, according to a study by Georgia State University.
Ocean views linked to better mental health
Here's another reason to start saving for that beach house: new research suggests that residents with a view of the water are less stressed.
New study shows electronic health records often capture incomplete mental health data
This study compares information available in a typical electronic health record (EHR) with data from insurance claims, focusing on diagnoses, visits, and hospital care for depression and bipolar disorder.

Related Mental Health Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".