The unmet support needs of family members caring for a suicidal person

Columba McLaughlin, Iain McGowan, George Kernohan, Siobhan O'Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The prevention of suicide is a key aim for health care authorities and society in general and family members have a principal role in caring for suicidal people. However, the support needs of these essential family carers are relatively unknown.

AIM: To explore the support needs of family members of suicidal people.

METHOD: Eighteen participants were interviewed using a short topic guide. Transcripts were analysed using thematic analysis and confirmed by discussion.

FINDINGS: Family members of suicidal people have unmet needs (this was the main theme). Four sub-themes emerged: having practical support, respite and advice; feeling acknowledged and included; having someone to turn-to; and consistency of support.

CONCLUSIONS: Family members are perceived to have an important role in suicide prevention; however some carers experience a lack of support which impinges on their ability to undertake this role. Family members need be included in care and require support from healthcare staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-6
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Early online date11 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers
  • Confidentiality
  • Family
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Social Support
  • Suicide
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'The unmet support needs of family members caring for a suicidal person'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this