Suicide bereavement is frequent in the general population and it can have deleterious consequences on the mental health and social functioning of the bereaved individuals. However, those bereaved can face substantial barriers to receive support, and online resources may improve the accessibility of support. This systematic review aimed at examining the use and benefits of online resources dedicated to people bereaved by suicide and appraising the quality of the research in this field.
Systematic review according to PRISMA guidelines, involving searches in Pubmed, Scopus and Web of Science, conducted in August 2020. The integrative systematic review involved extracting and merging qualitative and quantitative data. Quality assessment was conducted with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (MMAT).
The review included 12 studies, mostly of moderate quality. Online resources are predominantly used by middle-aged women, parents who lost their child by suicide, and recently bereaved individuals. Online resources offer a way for help-seeking around the clock for less educated, more disadvantaged and isolated people. People bereaved by suicide use online resources to seek and share support, share and find information, memorialize their loved one and for meaning-making. Negative effects of online resources are rare.
The evidence on the use and benefits of online resources for people bereaved by suicide remains scarce but show encouraging results regarding their positive impact on the mental and psychosocial health of the users.