People bereaved by the suicide of a spouse were at increased risk for mental and physical disorders, suicidal behavior, death and adverse social events, according to a nationwide study based on registry data conducted in Denmark and published online by JAMA Psychiatry.
The study by Annette Erlangsen, Ph.D., of the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health Centre, Copenhagen, and coauthors compared people bereaved by spousal suicide with the general population and people bereaved by spousal death of any other manner.
The study population included almost 3.5 million men (4,814 of whom were bereaved by spousal suicide) and more than 3.5 million women (10,793 of whom who were bereaved by spousal suicide).
Among the findings were:
The authors note most people bereaved by suicide do not experience health complications. The study design also cannot establish causality.
"Bereavement following suicide constitutes a psychological stressor and remains a public health burden. ... More proactive outreach and linkage to support mechanisms is needed for people bereaved by spousal suicide to help them navigate their grief," the article concludes.
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