Surviving relatives after suicide

Helle Nørrelykke, Pernille Cohrt

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalPaperCommunication


We would like to focus on the surviving relatives after suicides, because it is generally accepted that it is especially difficult to recover after the loss from suicide and because we know as a fact that one suicide affects five persons on average. Every year approximately 700 people commit suicide in Denmark. This means that at least 400 people undergo the trauma it is when one of their near relatives commits suicide. We also know that the loss from suicide involves a lot of conflicting feelings - like anger, shame, guilt and loss and that the lack of therapy/treatment of these difficult and conflicting feelings may result in pathological expansion of grief characterized by extremely reduced quality of life involving severe psychical and social consequences.
Suicide a subject of taboo
In the 1980s WHO drafted a health policy document (‘Health for all year 2000’) with 38 targets for attaining health for all and one of the targets is: ‘By the year 2000 there should be a reversal of the rising trends in suicide and attempted suicide’. This approval of and commenting on the fact, that suicide has to be considered as a social problem, has helped to break down the taboo of suicidal behaviour and that suicide has become a subject of research, prevention and treatment.

Auxiliary Strategies
In the 1990s there have been established the Centre for Suicide Research and the Centre for Prevention of Suicide in Denmark and there has been drafted a national policy document which focuses on the need for treatment for the relatives. In the wake of this policy document a national organization for relatives after suicide and a national network for those who attempt suicide occurred. Both organizations are formed by voluntary subscription and both organizations offer acute emergency relief, conversation groups, lectures and they gather and inform through articles, books and movies.
In the workshop we should like to discuss:
•Suicide – a subject of taboo
•Special complex of problems for the relatives
•Possible initiatives and auxiliary strategies for the relatives after suicide
Translated title of the contributionEfterladte efter selvmord
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2008
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event19th World conference of Social Work : The challenge of ensuring rights in a global and unequal society - Salvador - Bahia, Brazil
Duration: 16 Aug 200819 Aug 2008


Conference19th World conference of Social Work : The challenge of ensuring rights in a global and unequal society
CitySalvador - Bahia

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