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A qualitative study of supporters of adults following a suicide-related psychiatric emergency.

Dodge J, Stern K, Smith T, Magness CS, Garlick J, Garland S, Pfeiffer PN, Foster CE. A qualitative study of supporters of adults following a suicide-related psychiatric emergency. Families, systems & health : the journal of collaborative family healthcare. 2024 Apr 4.

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INTRODUCTION: Family, friends, and romantic partners (i.e., supporters) play a key role in the implementation of safety and support measures for loved ones with elevated risk for suicide; yet despite the link between interpersonal factors and suicide risk, few supporter-focused interventions exist. METHOD: This qualitative study to inform intervention development was conducted from September 2021 to March 2022 and explored (a) the feasibility and acceptability of a single-session phone call to a support person ( = 30, 67% female, 88% White non-Hispanic, = 40.3 [ = 17.1]) nominated during an emergency department (ED) visit for suicide risk and (b) the needs of supporters during and after a loved one''s suicide crisis. RESULTS: Of the 30 supporters nominated, 27 were eligible to participate and were contacted. Eighteen completed an interview (66%). Seven core themes with 26 subthemes were identified characterizing the supporter''s experience prior to, during, and following their loved one''s suicide crisis. We found moderate acceptability and feasibility of a single-session supportive phone call to a support person following an ED visit for suicide risk. DISCUSSION: Supporters reported a period of stress prior to and during the ED visit as well as adaptive coping with continued barriers and challenges. Brief interventions aimed at improving communication between the supporter, patient, and their care team; defining roles; and enhancing practical and emotional support are likely to be acceptable and feasible. Further study is needed to determine whether brief interventions to improve supporter self-efficacy can benefit both supporter and patient. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

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