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No time to say goodbye: Whanau bereaved by suicide


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Nominal literature exists concerning the experiences of parents bereaved by suicide. The sudden and unexpected loss of a family member to suicide is an overwhelming occurrence for peoples of various different ethnic and cultural milieus.

An invitation to participate in a free format study where participants could freely tell their stories was distributed in the Waikato Region, North Island, New Zealand, through community liaisons and public health coordinators. Participation was absolutely voluntary and the emphasis was on telling stories rather than being questioned.
In this pilot study nine stories were recorded from seven families: a sibling, a grandparent, and five mums. The tool for collecting stories was free format story collection guided by several themes including coping processes, formal and informal support processes. The story or talking (korero) sessions were interviewer administered. It was anticipated that the respondents will include a large proportion of Maori. For this reason the interviewer was of Maori descent, Maori speaking and well versed with Maori culture.
The story sessions were transcribed. The transcribed stories were subjected to textual analysis by two researchers. For this analysis the researchers looked for patterns of statements indicating beliefs or underscoring of a known, e.g. anger, or a new phenomenon. The results were compared for agreement/diagreement. Any inconsistencies between the researchers’ findings were subjected to further analysis until a consensus was reached. However, the latter situation did not arise.
Informed by means of a Qualitative methodology; Case Study approach were merged alongside each other to become the keystones to this study to research and which also provided the researcher with the course to circumnavigate the research procedure. The nine families who contributed to this research were the core of this study and in the course of sharing their stories, they proffer knowledge and describe experiences of their bereavement as a consequence of the suicide of their young adult child.

Different sources of evidence were gathered together and included participant interviews, researcher observations, and literature that documented the experiences of families bereaved by suicide. The nine families came from a variety of small rural communities, took part in the interviews. These participants experienced losing their young adult child to suicide within the last 9 years. The interviews were all audio taped, each transcribed and analysed thematically.

This research found, that families bereaved by suicide undergo various emotional responses. Shock, anger, denial, helplessness and guilt were some of the responses identified by the families. Coping in response to suicide entailed seeking and gaining support, psychological and social isolation as well as searching for reasons as to ‘why’ the suicide occurred. Self-blame or blaming others for the suicide were also imperative factors in how families coped in response to suicide

Item Type: Paper presented at a conference, workshop, or other event which was not published in the proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords: Whanau bereaved by suicide, suicide survivors,trauma, coping with loss and grief
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
Depositing User: Caroll Aupouri-Mclean
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 02:24
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:28

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