Telegraph – The stigma of parental suicide

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Telegraph – 13 October 2014 – The stigma of parental suicide

Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Consultant Psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital, agrees that the children of those who kill themselves often have to cope with their own mental health issues.

Children often feel a sense of abandonment, and struggle to process emotions towards their dead parent. “Children have an omnipotent perspective and tend to feel responsible for things that are happening in their environment,” says Bowden-Jones. “One of the biggest things is to understand it wasn’t their fault, they’re not to blame.”

Children crave stability and can often struggle with the turbulence that follows the death of a parent – such as re-marriage or moving house. “One the big problems is that sometimes when the father kills himself, the family end up in financial hardship,” says Bowden-Jones, “And then there’s a family move and that leads to a school change and bullying, because they’re in a new group of people at the wrong time when they’re feeling vulnerable.”

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