Children of Suicide Victims Need Support []


A new doctoral dissertation finds that talking about suicide is associated with such strong stigma that young people whose parents have taken their own life often must turn to the internet to express their grief and receive support.

The thesis represents the view of Anneli Silvén Hagström from Linköping University in Sweden. Given that Sweden has a socialist health care system, Hagström laments that the healthcare system is not providing support for young people in the difficult life situation.

However, she admits the root problem is cultural. The topic is relevant as around 1,500 people take their own life in Sweden each year, five times as many as deaths in road accidents in the country. They leave behind relatives, who in many cases are left to cope with their grief on their own.

“If your house is burgled, several organizations whose task is to support the victims of crime may contact you and ask how you’re feeling. But not many people ask how you’re feeling when a parent has taken his or her own life. Nor does the healthcare system, which really should take this up. It’s clear that the system often does not know what young people need,” says Hagström, a social worker who recently received her doctoral degree.

[For more of this story, written by Rick Nauert, go to]

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I was 15 years old, when I 'witnessed' my mother's handgun "suicide'--except earlier that morning, before taking me to summer school, I asked my [deputy sheriff] father why his gun was in the car. We both knew he had two handguns. He never answered my question. At the time, it was a felony in NYS, to aid or abet a suicide attempt. Even though I called the police to report finding her...they didn't question me about anything. ... Since we didn't have the internet back then, I guess I could try using it now. The night before, my mother tried speaking with my [younger] sister and I near the garden. She tried to apologize for 'being such a lousy mother'-her words. I said: "It sounds like you're going away, and I don't believe you'd do that, and I refuse to forgive you." 28 years later, I did EMDR, and it stopped the flashbacks... It wasn't until 12 years after her death, that she [a WWII 'WASP' pilot] became a "Veteran". After the EMDR, I looked up her death certificate, but the "Disposition of Remains" box wasn't clear. I later learned that nobody had claimed her remains [for six plus months] ....until I called the undertaker listed on the death certificate. He told me that a group of women, who worked at the girls camp where my mother had taught swimming, life-saving, and red-cross first aid, etc., had come six + months after her death, and taken her ashes and dispersed them over some body of water. My sister and I have yet to reach consensus over which body of water that may have been. We narrowed it down to two possibilities: Conesus Lake-where the girls camp was located, and Lake Ontario--near where my grandfather had taught her to swim using the 'old Bavarian method'--at age 3, tossing her off a low bridge into a small bay on the south shore of Lake Ontario [near the north end of Manitou Road]. I'm grateful that my mother taught my sister and I to swim [gently and encouragingly] using the Red-Cross method, and not the "Bavarian method" my grandfather had used on her, and many other positive contributions: her musical appreciation and training at Eastman School of Music, singing in the church choir, playing in the hand-bell choir, her production of our church Sesqui-centennial celebration, taking our cub-scout den/pack for airplane rides..... The morning after her suicide, at Summer School, somebody commented as we waited outside for the school to open: "Hey, I heard your mother committed suicide; Ha-Ha-Ha-.." and one of my classmates walked up and punched him. I didn't really expect a Roman-Catholic classmate of mine to do that, but the "Stigma" seemed to have been 'short-lived' that day.