University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

What is the Experience of Practitioners in Health, Education or Social Care Roles Following a Death by Suicide? A Qualitative Research Synthesis

Causer, Hilary, Muse, Kate ORCID:, Smith, Jo and Bradley, Eleanor ORCID: (2019) What is the Experience of Practitioners in Health, Education or Social Care Roles Following a Death by Suicide? A Qualitative Research Synthesis. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16 (18). e.3293. ISSN 1660-4601

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Recent research has highlighted that the number of people impacted by a death by suicide is far greater than previously estimated and includes wider networks beyond close family members. It is important to understand the ways in which suicide impacts different groups within these wider networks so that safe and appropriate postvention support can be developed and delivered. A systematic review in the form of a qualitative research synthesis was undertaken with the aim of addressing the question ‘what are the features of the experiences of workers in health, education or social care roles following the death by suicide of a client, patient, student or service user?’ The analysis developed three categories of themes, ‘Horror, shock and trauma’, ‘Scrutiny, judgement and blame’, and ‘Support, learning and living with’. The mechanisms of absolution and incrimination were perceived to impact upon practitioners’ experiences within social and cultural contexts. Practitioners need to feel prepared for the potential impacts of a suicide and should be offered targeted postvention support to help them in processing their responses and in developing narratives that enable continued safe practice. Postvention responses need to be contextualised socially, culturally and organisationally so that they are sensitive to individual need.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

This article belongs to the Special Issue Suicide: Prevention, Intervention and Postvention.
The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the Official URL.

©2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: postvention, suicide, suicide loss, suicide bereavement, practitioner, systematic review, qualitative research synthesis
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Related URLs:
Copyright Info: Open Access Journal
Depositing User: Eleanor Bradley
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2019 14:32
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 04:00

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