Growing in the shadows of suicide

Authors

  • Ana Vera Costa Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7611-2154
  • Sandra Mendes Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho
  • Ana Sofia Pires Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho
  • Sara Melo Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho
  • Sandra Borges Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho
  • Joana Jorge Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho
  • Graça Mendes Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Centro Hospitalar Vila Nova de Gaia/Espinho

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25753/BirthGrowthMJ.v29.i1.18631

Keywords:

bereavement, parental death, suicide, transgenerational

Abstract

Introduction: Children/adolescents mourning the death of a primary caregiver face several challenges, including bond breaking and family restructuring due to loss. The negative connotation associated with suicide loss is enhanced by stigma, increasing acceptance difficulties and feelings of isolation, abandonment, shame, and guilt in face of what happened.
Objective: The aim of this study was to retrieve data on childhood bereavement due to primary caregiver suicide and explore psychopathological and psycho-affective developmental consequences of this type of grief.
Methods: Literature review of articles published on PubMed database about the subject.
Results and Discussion: Bereavement of a suicidal parent is associated with multiple psychopathological conditions: mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, self-injurious behavior, suicidal behavior. Suicide and depressive disorder risk is higher when parental death occurred early in life course, with maternal suicide having greater impact. Antidepressants are more commonly used in cases of early parental death from suicide and are associated with increased hospitalizations for Major Depression and Bipolar Affective Disorder in adulthood. Consequences of parental death by suicide may be explained by several factors, as genetics, biological reactions, psychological factors originated from loss of an attachment figure, or social and environmental changes.
Conclusions: Parental suicide can be impactful for children’s developmental trajectory and later functioning level. The authors alert to the need for prevention and early intervention strategies associated with this process.

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Published

2020-06-26

How to Cite

1.
Costa AV, Mendes S, Pires AS, Melo S, Borges S, Jorge J, Mendes G. Growing in the shadows of suicide. REVNEC [Internet]. 2020Jun.26 [cited 2024May21];29(2):101-7. Available from: https://revistas.rcaap.pt/nascercrescer/article/view/18631

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