BEREAVEMENT BY SUICIDE

Systematic review of the effects of interventions for people bereaved by suicide

Background

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) for England reported that suicide is a major public health issue. One of the goals of the NSPS is to promote the mental health of those bereaved by suicide. In support of this goal, the Department of Health Policy Research Programme commissioned a scoping review of the research literature relating to interventions for those bereaved by suicide. The information retrieved led to the commissioning of a full systematic review. The primary aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effects of interventions aimed at persons bereaved by suicide. A secondary aim was to provide an overview of interventions for persons bereaved by suicide that have been reported in the literature.

Findings

Although the initial scoping review identified sufficient studies to justify a systematic review, when the evidence was appraised it was found not to be robust enough to provide clear implications for practice. However, some tentative conclusions are offered about the effectiveness of a psychologist-led group therapy intervention for children and a combined health professional and volunteer led group therapy intervention for adults. There is a pressing need for methodologically sound RCTs of interventions aimed at supporting people who have been bereaved by suicide.

Conducted by: Catriona McDaid1, Rebecca Trowman1, Su Golder1, Keith Hawton2, Amanda Sowden1.

1 Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York; 2 Centre for Suicide Research, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford

Publications

Centre for Reviews and Dissemination. Systematic review of the effects of interventions for people bereaved by suicide. CRD Report 38. York: University of York. 2008

McDaid C, Trowman R, Golder S, Hawton K, Sowden A. Interventions for people bereaved through suicide: a systematic review. Br J Psychiatry. 2008; 193(6):438-43

Posters

McDaid C, Trowman R, Golder S, Hawton K, Sowden A. The effects of interventions for people bereaved by suicide: a systematic review. British Psychological Society Annual Conference; 2007 March; York, UK

Funding

Commissioned by the DH Policy Research Programme