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The unmet support needs of family members caring for a suicidal person

Background: The prevention of suicide is a key aim for health care authorities and society in general and family members have a principal role in caring for suicidal people. However, the support needs of these essential family carers are relatively unknown. Aim: To explore the support needs of family members of suicidal people. Method: Eighteen participants were interviewed using a short topic guide. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis and confirmed by discussion. Findings: Family members of suicidal people have unmet needs (this was the main theme). Four sub-themes emerged: having practical support, respite and advice; feeling acknowledged and included; having someone to turn-to; and consistency of support. Conclusions: Family members are perceived to have an important role in suicide prevention; however some carers experience a lack of support which impinges on their ability to undertake this role. Family members need be included in care and require support from healthcare staff.

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Journal of Mental Health

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Social care online
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