Silenced voices: hearing the stories of parents bereaved through the suicide death of a young adult child

Health Soc Care Community. 2010 May;18(3):241-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2009.00886.x. Epub 2009 Sep 30.


The current paper reports findings from a qualitative research project that aimed to explore parents' experiences following the suicide death of their young adult child. Twenty-two Australian parents told of the suicide death of their son or daughter during the data collection period (2003 to late 2004). One narrative theme drawn from the interview data is reported here: the way in which suicide-bereaved parents feel unable to talk about their child's life and death, their experience of suicide and their resultant bereavement. Parents reported being silenced by others and silencing themselves in relation to talking about their bereavement. Parents' private stories are used to explain the difficulties they faced given the contemporary social and cultural context of grief and suicide. Then follows an examination of the impact these difficulties had on their ongoing grief narrative and availability of social support. Implications for health and social care intervention are presented to assist in better preparing support workers in their interactions with parents bereaved in this manner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Grief*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Narration
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Young Adult