Role of the family in suicide prevention: an attachment and family systems perspective

Bull Menninger Clin. 2010 Fall;74(4):301-27. doi: 10.1521/bumc.2010.74.4.301.


Suicide can be an act of despair, anger, or escape from intolerable pain associated with prior bonding disturbances within the family system, interpersonal loss, and current perceived lack of social support. Using a variety of online databases, the authors examined the research on the family's role in preventing suicide from an attachment and family systems perspective. They found relevant articles describing how to make use of family support in suicide prevention. From a study of the literature, the authors outline three new family concepts in suicide prevention: family cohesion, family adhesion, and formation of a new family. Therapists should use every familial resource to avoid premature closure and to expand perception of support options. The authors suggest specific practice recommendations to successfully involve families in suicide prevention based on the outlined family conceptual framework, and they recommend research investigation to determine empirical validation of these tentative formulations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide Prevention*