Home > Research > Activities > Understanding carers’ perspectives of supportin...
View graph of relations

Understanding carers’ perspectives of supporting friends and family members who have experienced suicidal behaviour

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Introduction: Carers often represent important sources of support for people who experience suicidal
behaviour and are well placed to contribute to suicide prevention approaches. This talk provides an overview
of a PhD research project which used a range of qualitative evidence sources to understand carers’ lived
experiences in this context, with a particular focus on suicidal behaviour in psychosis.

Method: This talk draws on insights derived from a systematic review of qualitative research into caregiving
in the context of suicidal behaviour, a qualitative analysis of peer-to-peer communications on an online
forum for carers of people with psychosis and bipolar disorder, and in-depth individual interviews with carers
of people with psychosis.

Results: Carers’ perspectives are discussed with reference to the concepts of uncertainty and responsibility.
Carers experience a disempowering sense of uncertainty around what has caused suicidal behaviour, what
they can do to reduce the likelihood of its recurrence, and where to go for appropriate support to mitigate
this risk. This uncertainty can act as a barrier to meeting the heavy responsibility for keeping friends and
family members safe, a responsibility that is negotiated with health services during and after instances of
suicidal behaviour. The unusual experiences characteristic of psychosis present some carers with additional
barriers to understanding and responding to risk.

Discussion: While many carers provide vital support to friends and family members who experience suicidal
behaviour, impact on their own wellbeing is significant and their desires for recognition and assistance from
health services often go unmet. This talk concludes by reflecting on ways in which friends and family
members can be better supported to understand and respond to suicidal behaviour

Event (Conference)

TitleBABCP 51th Annual Conference
LocationUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event