Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec


Social Work


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore barriers and supports to help-seeking in survivors of suicide loss. Methods: An anonymous online survey containing both quantitative and qualitative questions was developed with the goal of obtaining preliminary data using a mixed-methods approach in specific areas such as, experienced grief reactions, stigma from suicide, helpful and unhelpful forms of support. Sample: A total of 791 individuals completed the line survey about the barriers and supports to help seeking in survivors of suicide loss. Female participants accounted for 93% of the sample (N=735), males accounted for 6% of participants (n=52), transgender (n=1) and agender (n=3) made up the remaining 1% Results: Survivors of suicide loss report multiple difficulties in navigating their grief. 99.5% of respondents experienced intrusive thoughts about the suicide to a moderate to high degree. The most significant grief reactions included Shock 98% (n=729/747), Unhappiness 95% (n=705/739), Disbelief 93% (n=659/747), Regret 92% (687/740), and Guilt 89% (n=665/747). The most helpful supports were peer who have experienced a loss from suicide 85% (n=460/541), and support groups specific to suicide loss 83% (n=387/468). Participants noted that the most helpful interactions with professionals were those where the professional was responsive to their needs and helped the survivor process the death. The most unhelpful interactions with professionals were those notes as being empathic failures and when the survivor felt blamed for the suicide.

Included in

Social Work Commons