Do Primary Care Physicians Help the Bereaved With Their Suicide Losses: Loss Survivor Perceptions of Helpfulness From Physicians

William Feigelman, Rebecca L. Sanford, Julie Cerel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several previous studies suggested that primary care physicians can provide important bereavement assistance to survivors of suicide, yet no study has investigated whether suicide-bereaved patients perceive their physicians as helpful. Contacting bereavement communities on social media, we collected online survey data from 146 bereaved respondents reporting suicides causing them severe emotional distress. Data analysis suggested that nearly half (48%) of the respondents encountered positive, help-offering responses from physicians, compared to 10% whose responses were deemed as negative. Analysis of our data suggested that loss survivors’ perceptions of a physician’s helping or reproachful responses were associated with differences in grief difficulties and mental health distress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-489
Number of pages14
JournalOmega (United States)
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

Keywords

  • physician’s compassion after suicide loss
  • physician’s grief support
  • suicide bereavement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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