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Suicide in the Family

  • By: Julie Cerel
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Suicide, the intentional taking of one's own life, is often thought to be a solitary act. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 33,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in America. A suicide occurs every 15 minutes with over 90 deaths by suicide each day. When someone dies by suicide, family members are left behind to grieve and try to understand why the person took his or her life. Those left behind are referred to as survivors as they have survived the suicide of a loved one. However, when a suicide occurs, entire fami-lies, neighborhoods, schools, and communities are impacted.

Within families, survivors present with different levels of grief responses, ...

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